Finding Happiness (Or That Time I Jumped Off A Cliff)

The holiday season is always a time of reflection for me. As the year comes to an end with a month filled with celebrations and festivities I always find myself looking back on where I’ve been and thinking forward to where I want to go. And my mind always seems to ponder happiness. What is happiness? Everyone wants it. Everyone wants a happy life, happy relationship, and a job that makes you happy. But happiness can be hard. Life is full of stress, of hardship, and especially of comparisons. I think because of things like Twitter, Facebook, and even blogs, people are finding themselves comparing their lives to others and feel like they’re missing out. It’s easy to be sitting on your couch in your PJs enjoying a night with a good book or your favorite movie feeling pretty happy when you check out Facebook and see your friends partying it up on a yacht off the coast of Dubai (no, really!) or out at some fabulous restaurant all dolled up enjoying the night. It’s easy to wonder if you’re missing out, if they’re so much happier than you.

 I always used to fall in the comparison trap. I haven’t had the most traditional of college experiences, transferring from my dream school to a school I previously didn’t even know existed after my freshman year. I looked at the Facebook statuses of my friends at Bucknell as they went abroad and dressed up for sorority formals and I felt like I wasn’t really experiencing college, that I was missing out. Even though I was happy, I felt like I wasn’t as happy as they were, living the life I wanted to be living.

And then I got an internship in Hawaii and spent the summer there. I lived the dream that summer, I did things I’ve always wanted to do, and I learned so much about myself. When I came home it was with a new perspective. Everyone is going to have amazing times in life, and everyone is going to have absolutely horrible times in life. What matters most is not the circumstances but the spirit with which you approach these circumstances. I realized that I lived the way I always wanted to live when I was in Hawaii, I approached life like it was an adventure, something to be explored. Just because I was back in PA didn’t mean I had to lose that spirit. Instead of spending time thinking about all the things I didn’t have I became mindful of the things I did have. Like a debt free education, and extra time to spend with my parents, and opportunities at Penn College I wouldn’t have had at Bucknell. Most important of all, I met Josh.

I jumped off a cliff in Hawaii. Talk about going out of my comfort zone.

Now that my friends and I are older a lot of the comparisons are less about sorority socials and more about relationships.  I have friends who complain that their relationships have fallen into ruts, that they feel like the spark has gone out and if they just had money to take a fancy trip together or if they could go on exciting dates like they see everyone else doing everything would be better. This is an area where I am so happy Josh and I have never had problems and it’s because of the spirit with which we approach our relationship. Our texts are still as mushy as when we first started dating, and I still look forward to our date nights. I will never take our relationship for granted because I will never think of what we have as boring or ordinary. We may not have vacationed abroad or go on fabulous weekend getaways every weekend but we have an amazing life. We appreciate our date nights at home on the couch watching HGTV with a drink and some popcorn just as much as we do getting dressed up to go out for a fancy meal in a big city. Life isn’t all the big grand moments that social media sometimes leads us to believe it is, it’s the small, everyday moments in between.

As much as I love our engagement photos, we don’t look like this all the time. Well, at least I dont. ;p

The older I’ve gotten the more I’ve realized life really is what you make of it. If you feel lucky and happy, you will be. Never forget your spirit to approaching life as an adventure and a gift and you are going to live one exciting, happy life.

Question of the Day: What is one way you’ve used your spirit to turn a negative into a positive? 

Comments

  1. says

    It’s so easy to get caught up in “Keeping up with the Jones.” I still find myself doing it. But then I have to stop and realize no one has the perfect life. There’s a story behind everything. It really is the small things that matter not the large over the top moments. Great post!

  2. says

    your last paragraph is absolutely perfect! you have an amazing perspective!! we really do create our own happiness, and i love that you are embracing that! you are an amazing, beautiful person! <3 spa love

    • says

      Yes, I interned at a marketing agency for a summer. It was amazing. Jumping off the cliff made me nervous too, I’m so not a risk taker! haha Thanks girl! :D

  3. says

    You are so right! I used to think that happiness came from the BIG things, but now that I’m a tiny bit wiser, I’ve realized it’s the small things that bring happiness. Great post!

    • says

      Aw thank you! Yes the moments I look back on and go wow are not these huge big moments, they’re the little ones where I was just letting myself live and enjoying every moment.

  4. says

    I so hear you on this post! Last winter I went through a major ‘unhappy’ period and even resorted to reading books about happiness to figure out what was wrong.

    Turns out I was just not tuning in to all the GREAT things I have in my life!
    Whenever I’m feeling less than happy with my circumstances, I slow down and spend some one-on-one time with one of my children (not 2 or 3; that negates the whole ‘happiness’ thing…). Looking at myself through their eyes is a great way to re-focus and ground!

    • says

      Yes, it’s so easy to focus on what you don’t have and so hard to focus on what you do have. And really, just by us living in the country that we live in, having the education that we do, and being able to even write blogs and comment on other peoples we have so much compared to so many.

  5. says

    I LOVE THIS POST! such a great perspective.

    I am so guilty, especially since my ex fiance and I split up, of looking at happy couples and in my head going “duh i hate you guys”… Do i really hate them? absolutely not. I just don’t exactly have my priorities straight. We’re all human. We ALL do it at one point or another.

    I am getting better as the sting from the failed relationship fades about doing this. I’ve learned about from doing it too. Like, duh shut up charlotte you will find the right one for you. But I have also learned that the grass really ISNT greener on the other side. It’s just different.. As much as we all fear change, we all secretly want it too.

    • says

      Aw thanks girl! It was a post I’ve been really looking forward to posting, it’s a subject that has been on my mind. I used to compare myself when I was single to people in relationships and be so jealous. And then I was in horrible relationships and realized I’d way rather be single and happy than taken and miserable. Shortly after I met Josh and then became taken and happy. ;p

  6. says

    This post is beautiful!! I have been working myself on using my spirit and passion to live out a positive life and get out of negative spaces. I’m so glad to hear that you have been able to do this. I do sometimes get down for being single but thankfully I have not been doing too much comparing in that regards – more so I get stuck in comparison traps about fitness/diet/etc. But I just try to focus on my accomplishments and that keeps my head up!

  7. says

    I love all the points you made I this post, I agree with so many of them. I make an effort every day to see the positive in every situation, and I know that my spirit has a lot to do with that. Also, I nominated you for the Liebster award in my last post if you wanted a fun questions to answer. :-)

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