Happiness is being where you are – and Zoloft

I am pretty obsessed with self-improvement. I could spend hours poring over magazines, web sites and blogs dedicated to that content. It’s one of my favorite things to read about. In fact, I originally thought the focus of this blog would be my search for happiness.

I’ve been searching for contentment in my life for as long as I can remember. To my self, I’m never enough to be happy – pretty, thin, talented, smart, athletic, rich, etc. I know this isn’t a unique problem. Most people feel inadequate at one time or another in their lives. I think it only becomes a problem if your life becomes consumed with searching for external ways to acquire these things in order to become happy. This inner dialogue probably sounds familiar to you:

“When I graduate from high school/college I’ll be happy…”
“When I get married I will be happy…”
“When I have kids I will be happy…”
“When I get a new job/make more money I will be happy…”
“When I lose 20 pounds I’ll be happy…”
“When I retire I will be happy…”

Of course on your wedding day or the day you get a promotion at work you feel very happy, but that’s always a fleeting feeling, isn’t it? On an ordinary day, are you happy? Do you even know how to define your happiness?

I was hoping that during this period of unemployment I would be enlightened with my true path, and everything else would fall into place, especially money and happiness. That hasn’t even come close to happening, but over the last couple of weeks, I have noticed a subtle transformation in myself. Most of the time I feel good physically. Most days I have motivation to at least make my bed, some days I have more. I am enjoying getting out and seeing friends and family on a regular basis. I am not feeling the urge to drink alcohol every night to unwind or every time I go to a social event. I am exercising moderately and not obsessing over my weight. And I am pretty darn satisfied hanging out with my little guy every day. Dare I say it? Am I…happy? I’m thinking happiness for me is defined by a general feeling of content on most days. Of course some days I still cry when I hear a sad song, or get frustrated with not getting a call back on the zillionth job I’ve applied for, and I still have days where despite having a million things to do, I sit and watch tv and pig out. But overall I feel pretty good right now, which is quite unexpected given my bleak, even somewhat dire financial outlook.

I’m trying to take some advice from some of the blogs and magazines I am reading to be mindful, present, just breathe, etc. It does seem to be working. It is incredibly freeing to learn how to do this – stop the expectations you have of yourself and everyone else, stop worrying over things that can’t be controlled, and focus on and enjoy the here and now.
Right now is good enough. For some reason the universe wants me to be right here right now.

Of course, the party in my prescription drawer might have something to do with this sense of well being too, but that’s a topic for another post.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Linda Paul
    Nov 19, 2010 @ 20:58:25

    Mandee, I was so glad to see your post this morning. I was about to give you a little dig because I was suffering from L.E.D withdrawal. Instead, I found what I was looking for and grabbed a fresh cup of Jo, the computer, and headed for my favorite chair by the window and Poppy's hangout on her hotpad. My morning is complete.I wonder if there isn't something in our culture that withholds happiness. I'm staggered when I walk by the self-help section in the book store. It seems that everyone has a special formula for happiness, like the bazillion diets that promise great and EASY weight loss. It seems unfashionable to even admit that you might be the one in a bazillion happy people in the US. I think part of the reason that I almost never watch TV…and get quickly disgusted when I do…is that there are so many people peddling happiness of one form or another…either the perfect house, the perfect food, the perfect body, the perfect sex.I know I haven't always been as content as I am right now. But even when things were difficult, pain-in-the-ass job, boss,house…whatever…I think I always carried inside the knowledge of how blessed my existence was in the larger scale of misery on the planet. And also, when I finally grew into my identity (see recent blog posts) and reached peace with who I am and what I have to offer, that helped. I must confess that even a pain-in-the-ass job is easier to live with than the situation you're in.I wish I could bottle what's inside and inject into people I care about who are struggling…and there are so many. But I can't even articulate what it is, so how could I bottle it?It seems that you are on a good path, right now anyway. May it continue and may some financial blessings skip into your life this year to relieve that stress.


  2. Baily's Mommy
    Nov 20, 2010 @ 21:39:46

    I love this post! Ahh, you make me happy MJ. I'm right there with ya, no more worrying about the outside world and focus on my own little world. It's hard to do, letting go of the bad but it sure feels good when it happens. It's not something you can force either, huh? It just kind of happens…you wake up one morning and you think "Was I really that upset about that? Did it bug me that much? How stupid!" I love you and am so thankful for your friendship.


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