In Part 1, I reflected on my tendency to rationalize around my happiness. In Part 2, I talk about how I changed.
So after all of the reflection on my life, I realized that my happiness was my problem, and mine alone. I had to resolve to figure out how to make myself happy. I didn’t know what the hell it was that would make me happy, but I knew that only I could figure it out because I don’t think it’s acceptable to expect someone to give me something I can’t give myself. And frankly, I think it’s unfair to put the burden of my own happiness, mental health, etc. on another person.
What makes the difference in my happiness is my choice to make my life fulfilling for me, regardless of the different factors I faced on a day-to-day basis. I’ve always had a mix of the things I felt I needed to consider myself established, content, and even happy, albeit not always at the same time. However, until now, I didn’t stop to think critically about their purpose in the grand scheme of my life. I seriously think a switch was flipped and it was like “Look, you have what you say you want. Why isn’t it enough?” It was because I hadn’t consciously made a decision to reflect on what’s important to me and why. Why the hell does it matter?
I think I’m getting to the point where I change how I look at things in my life. The who, what, when, where, and how aren’t nearly as important as the why anymore.
Why do I want a relationship? Why with this person?
Why do I want this job/career? Why with this institution?
Why do I do this in my free time? Why not any number of other things I can do, am good at, etc.?
Not what do I get out of it. Not who is watching. Once I took all those other factors out of consideration, I ended up with things that were valuable and made me grow as a person. I stopped doing things for the sake of doing them, and started doing things because I wanted to. I still struggle with this, but I’ve worked hard to be OK with telling people “No.” without feeling like I have to explain myself to them. This has freed me up to reevaluate how, where, and to whom I exert my time and energy and let me tell you it’s been amazing.
I’ve been able to funnel my energies toward the things I really find important and worth developing. I’m in a career field where I know what I do matters, and for an institution that places value in the same things as I. I don’t dread going into work and I’m excited to grow as a professional. I’ve uncovered this intense domesticity that a younger me would have balked at. Just gimme a cookie press or some Mod Podge and I work magic. I’m enjoying motherhood more than ever by finding activities that let me put all my craftiness to great use while spending countless hours with my favorite little person. I’m happier than I ever have been with a man I can’t imagine life without. And all those hours spent reading books have morphed into a book review blog that people actually read!
Sometimes when I step back and look at everything, I feel like I have it all. Or at the very least, what matters most. Figuring out my why helped me figure out what I needed to be happier. There wasn’t anything revolutionary except for a some honest self-reflection and courage to take a few (calculated) risks. #iWon.
And because this song describes how I feel when I remember all of this (instead of getting wrapped up in the craziness of my day-to-day life):