On Tuesday, I started a new job. And an intense new eating challenge. And a new walking program (complete with a whole new friend.) By the end of the day, I wanted to cry.
There’s something people don’t tell you when you try to change your life: it’s a butt tonne of work. (Actually, I think everyone tells you that. Like, literally everyone.) Yes, I know the rewards of that work may appear someday, that my efforts may well pay off one day down the road, that a day will come where I just might be happy.
But it is not this day.
And there’s the rub. I’m a quick-fix-it, all-or-nothing kind of girl. I want it all, and I want it now. So I take on too much too quickly and fail every day in my constant quest to fix my life.
Fail? Yeah, I fail pretty much every day – even if I do everything I set out to. Because my end goal is happiness, and the doing doesn’t make me happy. At the end of the day, I can’t even enjoy my accomplishments from the stress of having to be accomplished.
I should be happy, and mostly I am (though it’s not the kind of bursting-at-the-seams happiness that self-help books try to sell you): I like my new job, my new efforts for my health, my new friend. But I fear that, rather than appreciating these new things in my life, they’ve just been added to my ever-growing checklist of things I need to be happy.
New job? Check.
New lifestyle? Check.
New friend? Check.
New-found happiness? Check back later.
Perhaps I’m going about this the wrong way. Perhaps happiness is more quiet, more simple, than I was always led to believe it is. Perhaps happiness is not the point of living but, rather, a natural byproduct of living well. Perhaps it’s simply not possible to be happy when you eliminate all sugar from your diet.
Or, more likely, happiness just can’t be contained by a checklist of wants and needs. It’s a feeling, ever in flux, and what makes me feel happy this day will not another.
And, given how fickle happiness can be, perhaps the best thing about this day – and this feeling – is that it won’t last forever.