I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. Research has varied, but all of these readings have been under the broad genre of self-improvement. More specifically, these readings have been under the topic of happiness through self-improvement. Some books I’ve been able to read in the blink of an eye, others have taken much longer to finish than I’d like to admit. Even though I’m still in the midst of my research, I’ve run into a reoccurring problem. I’ve found that with the majority of the books I’ve read up to this point, they are directly aimed at those who are middle aged adults, married, have children, and are financially stable. So, my question is, am I crazy for wanting to find happiness, true happiness, at the age of twenty-two? Do I have to wait until I’m in my forties, married with two kids and in my second job in order to deserve to finally be happy? Should I be fully satisfied at this age? Do we have to wait until we’re at our lowest point, only then feeling we truly deserve to be happy? Ultimately, what is the point of waiting to make ourselves happy?
*Disclaimer* I’m not saying that the books I’ve read didn’t have useful and accurate information. I’ve learned so much in just the last month since I’ve started this research and I’ve truly enjoyed reading all of it. Even with the small disconnect, I will keep these books on my shelf and reference them very frequently in the upcoming months.
After ranting not only to myself, but also many others about why the young adult population isn’t included in the majority of these writings, I came across many different answers. Young adult ideas are not yet set in stone, young adults are still finding themselves through trial and error, young adults don’t yet understand the permanence of decision making, etc. After deeply contemplating all of the differences between the stressors and outside variables between adults and young adults, I came to this final conclusion: malarkey. It’s all malarkey. In other words, any argument about what age group has the harder life is completely ridiculous. What I mean when I say this is, it doesn’t matter what stage of your life you’re in. At this very moment, you deserve to be happy. To be happy, we all have to start at the same spot, no matter what our background information is. We have to start with ourselves.
My rant could go on for days about this but what’s the point in ranting about it if I’m not going to do anything about it, right? So, I’m doing something about it. I’m making myself happy.
I also think it’s important to note that one doesn’t have to be particularly unhappy in order to not feel fully happy. This is the stage I’m in myself. In general, I’m working towards being the happiest I can be in my everyday life, so that I’m able to properly enjoy and be fully grateful for the moments that have been given to me. I want the first thoughts that pop into my head to be positive ones, ones that remind me why I go through the not so positive ones in the first place.
My first step in establishing happiness is defining it. My personal definition of happiness is pure and unequivocal contentment. Now, what does content mean to me? I can only describe it through a picture painted in my mind of a very specific memory that warms my heart every single time I think about it. Here is what being content is to me:
It’s Christmas Eve. I’m sitting on the brick fireplace of my nana and papa’s house, the heat from the fire making my cheeks blush as I start to overheat. I refuse to move though. This is my spot. Next to me, my papa sits in his chair, my nana is making a pot of coffee in the kitchen, the rest of my family scattered around the living room. Presents have been given and received, there’s nothing left to do but enjoy each other’s company. I just sit and listen. I can hear and see everyone from this spot at the fireplace. I hear the fits of laughter, clinking of glasses, the crackle of the fire. I see the smiles, the looks of peace and relaxation, the bit of wrapping paper sticking out from under the wooden coffee table. There’s a blanket of snow building up on the stack of wood outside of the front door. I feel no need to go anywhere or do anything. I only feel the need to be in this moment. I feel happy. I feel content. I feel home.
I realize from this contemplation on my purest moment of being content, my ultimate goal and ultimate happiness. My ultimate happiness is to feel at home. When I think of this moment of contentment, I feel nothing but warmth and honestly can’t help but smile.
One thing I’ve come across in every single reading is the idea of being specific. In goals, desires, motivations, one has to be very clear. So, to narrow this down, my ultimate happiness goal is this:
By next Christmas, I will be with someone, as well as in some physical place, that makes me feel like I am home.
I’ve realized that the hardest part of finding pure happiness is finding where to start. I gravitated towards Maxie McCoy’s book You’re Not Lost, because I was feeling exactly that, lost with no idea of where to begin (Again, please read her book, I’m begging!). If you’re like me and need that starting point, here it is. Define happiness for yourself. Make yourself a happiness goal, making it as specific as possible. Write it down, type it out, express it in some way so that you can refer back to it. I know I might sound silly and it might feel weird to broach this topic but really, what can it hurt to try?
Every week I’m going to be sharing the steps I’m taking and the changes I’m making in order to reach this goal. One step at a time until I find my way home. Please, please, please feel free to join me at any point in time! One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned so far is that doing things alone is much, much harder than doing things alongside others. C’mon people, don’t leave me high and dry here. You can comment or email me your personal happiness goal and work towards it with me if you’ve been looking for that support to get you started.
Huge shout out to Lucia and my mom (hi guys) who I’m currently signing up against their will to do this with me, right at this very moment. Loveeee you guys!!!!
Alright everyone, cheers to kicking some happiness a-s-s in the next couple of months.
p.s. my email is firstname.lastname@example.org & is in my about page as well !