If you weren’t already aware – admittedly, not something I would expect you to know – today is national tell a fairy tale day. And this got me thinking about all the fairy tales I Iistened to whilst tightly tucked up in bed when I was younger and how they all ended up living happily ever after – at least I can’t think of one that didn’t have the perfect ‘fairy tale ending’?! Whilst fairytale ideals are very old fashioned, lacking representation/diversity and ending with the usual savior being the handsome prince who sweeps the pretty princess off her feet making everything okay with the world. One thing it did teach me was, no matter the story behind the person, they DID live a happy life – something we should all be striving for, right?
The reality is, I don’t think many of us can hand on heart say we simply strive for happiness. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that working your butt off for that 1st class degree or that grad scheme job you have always dreamed of isn’t what you should be aiming for, because that may be YOUR definition of happiness. But how often do we really sit down and think what we can do in our lives to make us happy? Do we really strive for happiness, or just the ‘success’ that we think will make us happy? Defining your priorities can be so helpful to lead a happier life. And maybe for you, success in a job will be your ultimate happiness. Or if you are in a job that you don’t love because you need to pay the bills, prioritise other time in the week to do something that you do love, something that does make you happy. Even just for half an hour.
I know for sure that it is so easy to get caught up in the whole ‘my life isn’t successful enough’ mindset, which drags you down no end. Of course, our favourite thing to say is… ‘Social media plays a great part in this’ – ironic that I will be pushing this post all over social media. How many times have you heard that phrase? Probably well into the double digits, because it is SO TRUE. I love social media, just as much as your average millennial – it is engrained into our being. We are the generation of #newjob, #firsthouse and splurging everywhere how ecstatic, happy and grateful we are for EVERYTHING. Then two days later crying into our Dominos with Garlic and Herb dip (if you don’t like the dip, WHY) about how we feel super behind compared to our peers. When will we ever feel successful and like we have achieved something? Or even remotely like we know what we are doing? But then I stop in my tracks, halfway through scoffing my pepperoni passion, and think why can’t we just strive for happiness? In fact, why do I even say JUST strive? Surely happiness should be the one thing we do strive for, above all.
This morning, I saw someone tweet ‘Why does being in your early 20s feel so much like only having 5 years of your life left in which you need to achieve as much as possible? Why do I feel like I have an approaching deadline for success?’ Which I hastily quote tweeted ‘THIS’. Because the scary thing is, I have never related to anything so much recently as I did to that tweet. It is a feeling I know all too well, and frankly I don’t even know WHY I feel like that. Life has NO strict timeline, but the pressure we put on ourselves to have our lives together, and to have achieved ‘success’ to be happy, is somewhat crazy. Our lives are always evolving and changing, even in our later life. For example, both my Mum and Dad who are in their early forties (love you Mum and Dad, please don’t be mad for me sharing your age) have both made huge career steps in the past year, and I am SO proud of them. They have children, a house and it wasn’t too late for them to better their careers, but it wasn’t the definitive deal breaker of their happiness. If you have goals, GREAT! Go for it, and do it with all the passion you have, but don’t allow the process of getting there rid you of your happiness, or even define it. If you aren’t at the point you wanted to be at a certain time, don’t panic, you can still do it. No one said you needed to have bought a house by 25. No one said you need to have had children by 30. No one said you have to travel the world to ‘find yourself’. And if people are saying this, IGNORE THEM. We need to squash the idea of needing to succeed and have everything sorted right here and now. Live by your timeline and embrace it, no matter what age you are. Yes life goes scarily quickly, and we are always told life is too short, but realistically we have SO MUCH TIME. Go with your instinct, take your time, take leaps of faith and trust that putting your happiness first will ultimately lead to a life you love. Take your time to figure out what you want to do in your career, take a spontaneous city break instead of spending all weekend doing your washing, and treasure every moment with those you love and care about – because ultimately these are the things we will remember and be thankful for when we take time to catch our breath ten, twenty or however many years down the line. There are no dress rehearsals in life, so allow the you now to live and be happy, for the you in the future.
Just a little disclaimer, I also include having down days in my idea of happiness. I truly believe it is SO important to allow yourself to ride through every emotion you feel and not bottle it up. If you need a day in bed to take in and process all that life throws at you, you are still choosing your happiness over letting anything else define you.
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