For the Love of It

For the Love of It

Perhaps ironically, shortly after our move to England I wrote about two kinds of happiness; the happiness you find where you are, and the happiness you chase. I think it’s important to find happiness every day, to enjoy as many moments as you can. Ultimately, life is short, too short to waste on discontent. Some may say that directly contradicts the idea of chasing happiness, but I disagree.

Chasing happiness isn’t about discontent. You can be perfectly happy while chasing your goals. Isn’t that why they say life’s about the journey rather than the destination? You can be happy and still want to move forward. After all, if we stop too long on the path, we may begin to stagnate. There’s no reason to stop hoping, to stop looking for the things you must want to achieve.

Goals are like stepping stones; when you reach one, you look for a way to reach the next, moving ever forward as you cross the river. Life may take an unexpected turn, the tide might rise, and you may be forced to double back. But taking a new path doesn’t mean giving up on your ultimate destination.

Metaphors aside, I feel like I’ve lived in a holding pattern a long time, hoping for the ability to move forward, stuck on a detour past a particularly deep stretch of river. The path forward isn’t always clear and that can make it difficult to find happiness where you are.

Chasing happiness isn’t so much about finding or gaining something as it is about doing what you love. Material happiness is actually quite easy to satisfy, especially when you realize you don’t need most of the things you think you want. We lived for a year in a small apartment, with very few of our personal possessions. The furniture belonged to someone else. The plates, the pots, the cleaning supplies, all belonged to the land lord. And we had with us only what we required to get by on a day to day basis. Sometimes it was hard, and sometimes we were discontent. But we managed to be happy, to enjoy the sights, and meet fantastic people.

Even so, it felt good to start moving forward again. To continue chasing our dreams. Almost like a weight lifted from the shoulders.

My generation is often called lazy, irresponsible and entitled. We’re accused of wanting handouts, as though we want to sail through life without having to work. I think that’s a load of crap. My generation grew up watching our parents slave for the man and get nothing in return; no benefits, no retirement and certainly not much thanks. My parents almost never told their bosses no. So it seems expected of our generation to give more of our time for even less reward. Is it any wonder we reject the idea of slaving thirty years in a profession we can’t stand?

Loving what you do is important. The happier you are with your work, the more you devote to it. The more you’re willing to devote to it without making a fuss . The more you love the work you do, the more rewarding it feels. Believe me; my life would be a lot simpler if the thing I love doing most wasn’t writing. There was certainly more money in IT (less respect though). There are many days I fall into bed exhausted, feeling the weight of a rough week to come. But I’m almost always content when I do, because I know I’ve accomplished a step toward my goals, that I’m one step closer to my dreams if I don’t falter.

Loving what you do makes it easier to get up in the morning. It helps you sleep better at night. It’s a light in the dark days. It can invigorate you as much as it drains you. What’s the point, after all, of slaving endlessly for something you’re never going to enjoy? Too many people never take their vacation, never enjoy what the world has to offer, because they’re too busy toiling for that little something extra. Loving what you do means waking up every morning to a sense of fulfilment. It means smiling at the end of a hard day because you know you’ve done something good.

Loving what you do means enjoying the journey on the way to the destination. If that desire is selfish, so be it. Because loving what you do is a happiness worth chasing.

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