Destination Happiness

When I have——— I will be happy.

When I finish———— I will be happy.

When I look like—————– I will be happy.

When I have that job. When I take that vacation. When I drive that car.

What is the biggest problem with all of these statements?

These statements tell us that an external solution will answer our internal problems. They tell us that these tasks, accomplishments, situations would fulfill us and give us complete happiness and joy.

For example, have you seen the commercial or print ad for Hershey’s chocolate? On the actual chocolate bar in every little square the word happiness is imprinted. It tries to tell you that Hershey equals happiness. It is not any more ridiculous than all of those statements I started with. Think about it. How many of us have heard of that common joke of the woman who after break up couples up with Ben and Jerry.

All of these statements would lead us to believe that the people who have all of the things that we think we want should be ecstatic. Yet there are many beautiful, young, famous and wealthy people who are miserable. How can they not be happy they have all the “things” we think we want.

We spend a lot of time comparing other peoples outside to our insides. We figure we are not happy now, but all of these things would make me happy. We are in a society of over consumption -bigger, better, faster, more! When do we have enough? When is who we are enough?

Of course, I realize life is a journey with so much to experience, see and learn. I believe that we are supposed to constantly better ourselves and evolve, but most of us have no concept of balance. We spend so much time doing, that we are never just being.

How many of us look back on our childhood, teenage years, 20’s or 30’s and say those were the good old days. We remember the times with friends and family of years past, the memories we cherished and think those were the good old days. What is most amazing is that most of us could not wait to get tomorrow, could not wait until we got older. The dream job, house or the perfect mate were all supposed to make us happy. We look back on all those amazing times now, wishing we knew then what we know now…. What we fail to realize is that today is yesterday’s tomorrow… so how has all that planning been working out for you?

We often hear about people needing to find themselves. Where did we loose ourselves? At what point do we stop driving towards success, long enough to appreciate all that we have already accomplished? It is as if we were mountain climbers, but we never get to the top to appreciate the view. Many of us spend our entire lives climbing. The joy is in the journey, not the destination. The view is different, but beautiful the entire trip up the mountain. If we are not careful, we will hurry through and even miss the best parts.

Success means different things to each of us. Is somebody successful because they are rich? Is it because they have a great job? Is it from achievements or goals met? The problem is that there is no single way to measure success. We forget that anything we acquire physically will never fully equal any emotion. The best part of going on that dream vacation was the time we spent longing in planning for it. We do and should feel pride from accomplishments. Things like a car, job or person, which can bring us joy, can never fulfill our lives enough to sustain true happiness.

The greatest things in life are not tangible. They are feelings and emotions: happiness, joy, love, peace serenity, health and spirituality. While many things can make you happy, they can not compare to being in love or understanding your place in this world. The reason for that is that one is tangible, but temporary and the other is an experience that lasts a lifetime.

So how do we stop living for the next destination? The answer is balance! Happiness is not getting what we want, but wanting what you have. Happiness, joy, love -all of these emotions are in the present, in this moment. They are not found, but realized.

Now is the time to start taking the time to appreciate your life today. See life in all of its simplicity! Do you know why children are so happy? They do not complicate things, as adults often do. They are curious and enjoy the moment without the need to figure it all out or make it even better. We need to appreciate the people, places and things in our lives as they are. We need to love them and not try to change them. We can strive for more, but must appreciate what we have!

Most of us have enough money and security for today. We take for granted the clothes we wear, our home, job and loved ones. We must start to accept our current place in the world. We are a simple piece of the vast puzzle. Just for today, there is no need to fix and rearrange the entire puzzle. We just need to be our piece and let others be theirs and trust that it is enough. Realize we are all in this world wanting basically the same things. For many, all of their wants are elusive. The concept of bigger better, faster, more – only guarantees that you will never reach the destination of fulfillment or happiness. It is only through accepting our piece of the puzzle that we can be at peace.

Happiness and joy are found from within. They have no conditions. They are found in the laughter of a child, beautiful spring day, by basking in a warm summer sun or watching the tides break on the shore. It is in the ability to find joy in something simple that we will be happiest most often. We have free will to focus on anything we choose. It can be on acquiring things, people or respect or it can be on appreciating the beauty of what is today. It is who we are that we should be focused on far more than what we have. All of the best things in life were given at birth. It is up to us celebrate them every day. I often say, the past is gone. Tomorrow will always be a day away, but today is a gift! That is why it is called the present. It is up to us to make the most of it!

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