Thoughts on happiness
How your life choices can have such a profound impact on your life and happiness.
I spend a lot of time thinking about lifestyle choices, career choices, and just choices in general. Why and how do people make the choices they do? What really rings true for me, is how many people I come across that quite openly admit that they either hate their job, hate where they live, or can’t stand the people they live with. So why continue on with a lifestyle that clearly makes you unhappy? Obviously there are countless answers to this question, and of course for some, there is no other choice, but this is not the case for so many. It is a true cliché that the grass is always greener, and I will hold my hand up and say that I, along with so many others, am a victim of this. Yet rather than view this as a negative, as something that you must try and avoid at all costs, I see this as a healthy way to live your life. It is perfectly natural to dream of different things, or to wonder what the next adventure or challenge might be. Of course you must be happy with what you have, but if you can’t look forward and dream of more, won’t you just stand still for the rest of your life?
From my personal experience, I have found that one of the main reasons people become stuck in a lifestyle that doesn’t fulfil them, is the fear of the unknown, and the sheer terror of stepping outside of their comfort zone. I have been living in France for several years, and even now when I return to England I am told by friends and acquaintances that I am ‘so lucky’ to be living the life I do. As gentle a sentiment as this flyaway comment is, I am often left resenting the inference that my lifestyle landed on my lap, as if I had recently stumbled across an unexpected inheritance, or a lottery win.
Of course not everyone can up sticks and follow their dreams, but what I am finding more and more are those who either have a dream and are too afraid to follow it because it would disrupt their safe life, or those who are spending their life doing a job or living in a place they hate, but can’t muster up either the energy or the drive to find something that inspires them. Statistics say that for people working 40 hours a week, over 30 percent of their lives are spent working. It is a large chunk of your life to throw away on a job that leaves you feeling unfulfilled, or at worst, unhappy.
I have found that the other important factor in quality of life and happiness, is where you live. Yes you may be in a job that perhaps wouldn’t be your first choice, and is a bit of a drag. But if you can spend every evening and every weekend doing the things you love, in a place you love, life suddenly doesn’t seem so bad. Sometimes it is necessary to stick out a rough few years in order to get where you want, but if you are aiming for a goal, or doing something uninspiring to pay for something you have had your heart set on, it makes a huge amount of difference to your motivation and work ethic. I spent a fairly unhappy few years in places I didn’t really enjoy, but I had my goal in sight and I was aiming for it. You can make the most of a less than perfect situation, if you have the courage to look further afield, and pursue something that will make you happy, even if at first it seems out of reach or too much hard work.