I will be happy when…. We can insert almost any statement after these five words. How many times have you thought to yourself, “I will be happy when I:
Get a boyfriend or girlfriend
Finally get that promotion
The list is essentially endless. I still struggle with this mindset. It is very difficult to get out of for a couple of reasons. It can also be a dangerous mindset if taken too far.
I think that it is important to have goals and aspirations. These things give us a reason to improve and find fulfillment in our lives. Without something to work toward, life can become mundane and repetitive. Having goals is not the problem. The perception of happiness surrounding the achievement of these goals can be a problem.
It’s important to be happy and enjoy the process of achieving a goal. I will use myself as an example here, but I have talked to several people who have lived similar experiences. This is why I think it is reasonable to use it as an example to emphasize my point.
I enjoyed my college experience and it helped me work toward who I am today. One of the biggest lessons I learned was to enjoy the process in addition to the eventual outcome. When I first started college I thought that my education would catapult me into a great life. Suddenly I would become “someone”. I would, in effect, be who I had always wanted to be.
Here lies the problem with this sort of thinking, I was not content with my life because I wasn’t who I wanted to be yet. Secondly it caused a hidden reality; since I wasn’t who I wanted to be, I couldn’t be happy with who I was. If we aren’t happy with who we are, we should start changing that immediately, not when some external things change it for us. Being a great person starts within.
This “futuristic” way of thinking can lead to us missing out on the good things we are currently doing. The best thing we can do is be who we want to be today and work toward that hypothetical person we envisioned. I’ve finally come to the realization that no matter what we are doing, it is all just everyday life we are living. I am living out a dream that I started working toward many years ago. While I am proud of my accomplishments, I don’t feel the way I thought I would. Every day isn’t full of rainbows and pots of gold. But the fact remains that we should be working toward a better tomorrow, but while we live the best possible today.