The Pursuit of Happiness
I remember growing up having a lot of plans; plans about what I will do or must have achieved by a certain age. I can still hear my siblings and I talking about being in JJS 1 by age 11, SS3 by age 16. We also planned to get into the university immediately and study a particular course, graduate, and then get a job and get married. All of our plans had a time (age) stamp. We had no doubt that it would all happen as planned, and that anticipation made us so happy.
What my ‘young and full of life’ mind didn’t know was that plans change and even if they refuse to, they may be forced to, by the surprising changes of life itself. So, I was not prepared when things didn’t go as planned. I was shocked. It wasn’t meant to go this way! It was supposed to be exactly how I thought it would be.
I didn’t know how to handle the disappointments that came my way. The ones that came with a sudden break up exactly at the age I had stamped for marriage in my self-made life plan. Also the ones that came with the seemingly unending search for a job; the regret emails that came, the applications that were left unanswered, the rejections that were as a result of my gender and the ones that were because I didn’t know the right people. I was suddenly thrown out of the illusion I had, that all I needed to ensure I got a good shot at the best of life was just to work hard and make good grades. The system taught me otherwise, and it was for me, a hard pill to swallow.
So, before I knew it, the disappointments started to weigh me down, and I became unhappy. I was, however, sure that I would be happy once all the plans that had gone haywire fall back into place. So, I focused on pursuing all of them, for I believed that pursing them meant pursuing happiness. I believed that when I succeed, I will finally be happy.
But in a rather dramatic way, I learnt a valuable lesson that changed me forever. I learnt that happiness does not come with a manual. Happiness is not something that happens down the road, it is now or not at all, and if I spend my life waiting for something else to get me there, I am not living, and that is not happiness. It is a boss that will always have one more project to be done before he grants my wish and that is not happiness. I learnt that happiness is now.
So, I realised that life is short and if I spend all my time waiting for a job or ‘the ONE,’ I will only succeed in wasting a perfectly good chance to be happy. So, I chose to tell myself that whether married or single, working or not; I will never wait for anything outside myself to change before I choose to be happy.
Yes, I will continue to pursue and fulfill all my plans, but I will do so in happiness, for only in the happiness of pursuit can I truly find fulfillment.
I hope you do the same.