We live in a generation of #goals, where accomplishments are praised and failures… well, not so much. Yeah, we can learn from our mistakes, but can we ever feel fully accomplished? As millennials, we are constantly needing and wanting more; nothing is ever enough. It’s always, “what’s next?” We live in an era when we are constantly being judged or judging, comparing or admiring. We are all on the ultimate search for happiness, a search that’s exacerbated by the media.
Happiness. You know, in that happy-go-lucky movie where the characters reach peak happiness, kiss and walk off into the sunset? The sexy new car that Insta influencer just bought? That guy or girl with an impossibly shredded body? That couple with the seemingly perfect relationship? Getting married, owning a house? You know, happiness?
It’s an ambiguous word warped into our minds. Happy is the ultimate. But what is happiness? For one, it can’t be bottled up into one category. My happiness, for example, is waking up before sunrise and going to boxing. But that might be somebody else’s fucking nightmare. Everybody finds happiness in different places, but how do we find it?
First up, happiness is not something you magically find. So ignore all that talk about “searching” for your happiness, marketed at the helpless or hopeless. Happiness is just a word, so let’s start from there: Happiness isn’t something we find when we are in love, and isn’t something that money can buy—the most lavish of expenses will leave you wanting more, never feeling complete or happy. Happiness isn’t something we can find in drugs or alcohol. What I’m trying to say is that happiness doesn’t just come from one thing.
So what should we even aspire for? Buckle up, and get ready for the double-cheesy mozzarella part: Happiness is found in the little things, it seeps through the cracks that piece the different parts of our lives together. If you’re not feeling happy, take a step back, ask yourself why, and do something about it.
Do you hate your job? Then quit your fucking job. Can’t stand your flatmate? Move out. Struggle with your body image? Find an exercise that you love, and do it as often as you can. Want to get a dog? Do it. Dogs are awesome. It sounds simple, and sometimes it is. Of course, this isn’t the case for everyone. Depression and anxiety cause major roadblocks for many people, making happiness difficult to obtain.* But if and when you can, do the things that make you happy, and do them a lot. Empty out the thoughts of sadness, anger, hatred, remorse, regret and comparison, and instead focus on the little things: Going to the concert that makes you smile so big you feel as if you could cry, lying on the beach with the bros with a beer in hand listening to your favourite jams, holding the person that means the most to you and spending time doing meaningful things you value with the people you value the most instead of scrolling through your Instagram feed, comparing yourself to millions of others.
My point is that being happy in our generation is hard, like opening a jar of salsa hard. We are on an endless roller coaster of emotions, but this is the ride of our lives.
Destroy the comparisons, make light of the bad situations, and create your own story—don’t be a cookie cutter of someone else’s. Comparison and setting unrealistic goals will only set you back. Start small, by doing the things you love and doing them often.
Don’t let anyone or anything get in the way of what your ultimate happiness is.