Are you authentically happy?
Are you happy or authentically happy? What is the difference? Here is how I see it. When I was in my early 30's I moved to Long Beach Island full time. I got into a great group of friends and was a literal social butterfly. I was always out somewhere. If I wasn't out, I was a hanging at a neighbors or friends house. I was rarely home, always on the go somewhere. I have often referred to it as the most fun I've ever had. And it was. But I was also still single and I had an urgent desire to get married. I thought it was what I needed to achieve true happiness. I am married now and truly happy but not because of my idea that I needed to be married. I was renting a place on the island at the time. It was a great spot, right on the bay. It was a crappy little place but the rent was cheap. I had no dreams of owning my own place at the time because again, I had an idea that I would need to be married in order to get to such a lofty goal. (I was wrong again.) I was putting a lot of my long term happiness on hold. I was waiting for a lot of things to happen before I thought I could be truly happy. Like the quote above states, a lot of my happiness came from external factors. If I was out with my friends, over a friends, doing some sort of activity. If I needed to quarantine at that time I'm sure my happiness would have taken a nosedive because I wouldn't be able to do all the things that made me happy.
Cut to now...I realize all those others things aren't necessary for me to feel true/authentic happiness. I still like to do those things. I am still very social. I love seeing my girls and getting together with couple friends. I'm big on getting together for some coffee, having lunch out and a happy hour gathering. But it's not what makes me happy...it only enhances it. What is it that makes me truly happy now? I am very blessed to have found a wonderful man to spend my life with and the fact that we are on the same page where we want our life to go is a big part. Also, the fact that we can be goofy together and have fun anytime is a huge plus. The work that I do now, talking to all of you everyday, fills me with a sense of purpose. I love sharing with others how I became a happier person and I truly want to help you and others do the same. We also live in a house and area we love. I think that is such a big part of authentic happiness. Life is so much better when you come home to place you love to be.
Life really hasn't changed that much for me since this quarantine started. I've been working from home for the past year so it's not really affecting my work (a little on the large scale) but not much on a day to day basis. Even though your home and location is probably considered an external factor I still think I am more authentically happy living here than I would be if we were still in our condo in Pennsylvania. We made a lot of sacrifices to live here. We still are. My husband has a three hour round trip commute everyday...along with 12 hour shifts at times. We had to cut way back on our monthly bills to afford this house. We knew we would be house poor but we love our house and we are okay with that. It comes down to knowing what it is that really lights you up. Is it location? The work you do? The amount of time you spend with your family? Is it a sense of purpose? All these things should be independent of what is going on right now.
Now is the perfect time to take stock of where you are with your happiness. I know we all would rather go out when we choose, grab a bite, see a friend, go to a movie or a number of other things we are used to doing but are satisfied with where you are right now? If you have to stay put for another month...will you be okay or is the thought making you bonkers? Don't misunderstand me, I know this is a tough time but what is the most important things in the world to you? Are you still surrounded by those things? We know now, more than ever, our health and our family is the most important thing. Are you and your family healthy and safe? Do you have the opportunity to be with your family? Cherish this time. Yes, it's okay to lock yourself in the bathroom for 15 minutes when everyone is driving you crazy but you know deep down that you wouldn't want it any other way.
What do you feel you are missing the most right now? Be specific. Those are things that are important to you. And now you know to include more of that in your life when you can. Now, that you are spending so much time with yourself what are some of the things you thought brought you happiness but you're realizing it's not what you thought it was. Make some adjustments when you can. It's time to test out some new hobbies. Try out as many things as you can. You never know what will be your next great love. This is the time to discover. Get on it.
It's hump day. Just marking time here. Take some time to strip it all down. What is it that makes you truly happy? Is it happening? Do you know what it will take to make that happen? Get to work. And try to make today, your best day yet.