3.13.2015

{Thoughts on} Happiness



Does anyone else have a mind that just won't shut off no matter what?  It's one of my life's goals to find a way to shut my mind off and just BE.  Still working on it.  I haven't been doing a lot of posting on the blog lately {apologies}, mainly because I have been doing a lot of thinking {go figure} and soul searching these past couple of weeks.  The topic on my mind lately: true happiness and what that looks like.  Specifically, what does it look like for me (and for my husband)?

Some of my close friends and family members know that I've actually struggled to find happiness quite a bit in the past couple of years since moving back to the States.  It's something that I don't talk about a lot, and you'd probably never guess it by looking at my Facebook page or Instagram posts {ahhh, the magic of that rose-colored lens known as social media}.  But I will say that it has less to do with the fact that the actual move was such a big one, and more to do with the idea that we once had a very stress-free, almost vacation-like life for 4 years.  A life that contrasts quite a bit with what life is like in America for us today - even in laid-back and sunny Austin. 

So, I've been searching for something that I can't quite wrap my mind around - what does my "happy" look like?  What is my passion?  Where is my career headed?  Will I be a mom?  Will I have both career and kids?  Where do we belong?  It's different for everyone, and to be honest, I thought I'd have it all figured out by the time I was 29.  Not so. I believe your definition of happy changes over time.  It changes as you go through life and have new and different and life-changing experiences.  And no matter how much you are the same person, you never really are again.  That's where I have been for the past couple of years, and that is where I am today.

Last week, I heard about a documentary, appropriately named "Happy" on Netflix.  And since Netflix is all we have at our house {I'm not even kidding, we really don't have any TV channels}, I was super excited.  It came at a good time, a time when I am really trying to figure out what happiness looks like for me.  The documentary followed people from all different parts of the world, in all different financial situations, and it aimed to measure happiness, just like doctors can measure depression in a person.

I almost cried when they featured beautiful Okinawa, where there happens to be an incredibly large population of happy, healthy, and stress-free people over the age of 100.  No wonder we miss it so much!  According to their research, almost half of a person's happiness comes from having new experiences, even something as simple as driving a different way home from work.  Variety.  Not the same old grind.  Interesting.  It also has a lot to do with your relationships with the people around you and with God.  And the final thing that played a factor in one's happiness: service to others.  One quote that really resonated with me was, "For me, my life is like a loan given from God, and I will give this loan back, but with interest".  I love that.  I want to do something with my life.  And I crave those new experiences, those relationships. 

I'm beginning to come to the realization that I am unintentionally getting so wrapped up in my thoughts that it's causing me to put too much emphasis on tangible things.  Career.  Money.  Kids.  House.  Having to figure it all out right now.  The ideal "American Dream" is getting to me, to say the least.  And after spending the past couple of weeks thinking, praying, thinking some more, having some serious talks with my husband, and, yes, watching documentaries, I've come to the conclusion that it's okay to let these things go and not have it all figured out.  {I didn't say it was easy for me, but it is okay}.  That true happiness transcends your situation and brings the focus back to God.  He's the only thing that stays constant & provides true happiness.  Pour your life into relationships, new experiences, and serving others, all while keeping your main focus on God.  See life through God's lens.

It's okay that I haven't got everything figured out yet as I'm nearing the end of my twenties.  But I'm starting to understand what is really important in life as I get older, and where true happiness lies for me.  After all, aren't we all a work in progress?
 

2 comments:

  1. I love this one! You are very wise for your years! Life change for me a few years ago and I dont have it all figured out....and I am OLD! I know that having your focus on God will lead on the right direction and to answer. My favorite bible verse is Exodus 14:14. ♡ you

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  2. Amen. All your blogs have been great...but this is the best. Most important is this revelation. Love you.

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