This post is written by Beriah Chandoo. My friend is driven, assertive, disciplined with her health and relentless in her independence. Her resiliency is her beauty. Her vulnerability is her strength.
In the pursuit of happiness I have found myself always moving: moving home, moving to a new country, moving jobs, moving weight-loss goals, moving between hobbies, moving goal posts of my personal success. Always moving. These are all good and noble traits and experiences, and my friends and family have supported me to keep going with each and every one of my new pursuits. But, what I have only recently realized is that in my constant chase for happiness, I have never just sat in contentment. I left no room to look at the things I have, and the things I still want to have, and just be…content.
It’s not easy. Society (and Instagram) tells me that as a successful, attractive, funny, outgoing woman in her late 30’s, I should have an equally engaging partner, possibly a child (or two, or three, or four!), own a home, and go on at least one extravagant holiday a year. More importantly I have internalized these goals and respond by (a) doing something-anything to distract myself from the fact that I don’t have all this; or b) chase after them and hopefully make it happen! The constant comparison within the content on social media and even yes, my friends’ lives and romantic relationships can leave me feeling down or determined to make new goals.
It has not been easy to see that what I want is somewhat different to what I currently have. Yet, the truth is I have nothing to complain about or regret having in my life. Isn’t that strange?
Earlier this October, after my most successful relationship to date came to a sudden shuddering end, I found myself experiencing resentment and pain only focusing on what I no longer had. What I learned later in this process is that good health, good friends and family relationships, good work/life balance, and good finances all became insignificant against that one thing I was chasing and did not have- an enduring romantic relationship. Mind you, none of these things are actually insignificant, small, or easy to achieve. Due to my yearning and pursuit of “happiness”, I’ve almost taken the things that were presently good in my life for granted.
I’ve gone through a gradual process of finding contentment. During this process, I’ve needed friends and family to help me through being low, anti-social or just plain grumpy. I have come to realize that, if I slow down and just take stock for a while, I actually enjoy all that I have, and I’m truly content! I can be happy, even while knowing that there is some unhappiness present in my life. It’s all about the balance. The amount of Happiness Pros far outweigh the number of Sadness Cons. That constant drive to chase, can finally be eased. I find that I can breathe a little, come back to my core values, my strengths in my beliefs, and also my existent happiness. It is ok to want something more, I think everyone should always have a goal to strive towards – I know this isn’t about to change for me. But goals are there to make us smile, not to be so all consuming that they take over and obliterate the joys of being ok.
It’s not easy sitting in discontent, especially as those who know me know I have not learned patience or to sit still for long. But sitting still, sitting with my discontentment, and observing just how much emphasis it has on my life, is essential to allowing me the time to enjoy the things and people I have around me that bring me happiness. I am ok with knowing that I have things I still want in my life, but for now, I can pause and be content with all that I do have. And that makes me happy!