You know how sometimes thoughts just hit you?
Well, I’d been thinking about how to improve my life… or rather, how to enjoy my life more. You see for the past while I’ve pretty much been busy, non-stop doing things that I kind of want to do, But often I wanted to do them for fun, and they’ve turned into time-sucking nightmares. And, understandably, I’m therefore not enjoying these things quite as much as I hoped.
So every now and again, I keep thinking “what is it that really makes me happy?”. The kind of thought that usually is associated with older depressed people, who have had 3 marriages, 8 kids, have 5 loans to pay off, and have just bought a gun. Fortunately, that is not why I’m asking the question.
In my 26 years of life, I’ve seen a number of people who are working away at jobs they really don’t llike, or involved in activities, social groups, programs, projects, meetings, etc that really just suck them dry and leave then empty and unhappy. So last night I was thinking about these things, and about the fact that I hardly ever do things that *I* want to do… or perhaps I should say… if I do get to do things that I want to do, often they’re characterised by great compromises to make other’s happy, and often they just don’t happen at all.
Anyway, over time I’ve had some “great” ideas as to what I could do with my life, but never followed up on them. There have been things that I love doing, but I’ve not continued doing them. There have been amazing people in my life and I’ve lost touch with them. So I was left wondering “Why? Why don’t I do what *I* want?” and, of course, “What do I want?“.
And then toda, while walking through Woolies in Centurion, getting lunch, I got to the till and in the middle of paying for the goods (and having a great/happy/positive chat with the lady behind the till), it dawned on me… it went something like this:
I need a holiday.
Just imagine a nice tropical beach somewhere, with no stresses, no people, perfect weather, everything taken care of for me, where I could stay forever and not have to worry about work, money, cars, friends, or other people. Then I’d relax. (people could be there, I just mustn’t be stressed by them in any way)
I’d keep relaxing, and enjoying it…
Wouldn’t you get bored?
Maybe, after a while, yes.
So what would you do?
Something that made me happy.
So now my plan is to think about that, picture myself in that situation and wonder – what would really make me happy. Not just a fake, outside only, type “happy”… but a genuine fulfillment, true, and deep happiness. Kind of like answering the question “What was it that God made me for?”… “What purpose did He put inside me, that defines me? (or is unique to me)”
I’m guessing you’re thinking “So what’s so great about that?” – well… what’s great about it is that while I knew the theory of trying to find what you like doing, I didn’t have quite such a graphic understanding of it. Of course, it doesn’t really bring me all that much closer to finding an answer. But it does give me a few guidelines, in terms of what kinds of things I enjoy, or what components would have to be in place for me to enjoy what I’m doing. I’ll try explain in a later post.
The second thing I realised (later on in the afternoon) is that I always have the chance to choose what I want in reaction to things. For example: if Bob organises an event, then at the last minute changes his mind about the day that the event happens on, and then says “The event is now on the 12th.” – I would usually feel incredibly obliged to be at the event, even if I had other things planned. Especially when Bob’s event, and my other plans were both things that I wanted to do. I’d get caught up in worrying about which would be the more “seemly” thing to do, which group of people I should spend time with based on who I’d seen recently, and what the “right thing to do” would be (for everyone else, and also for myself). Now while that’s all fine and well, its a recipe for disaster in terms of never actually feeling like you’re doing what you want to be doing. But if I actually say to myself “what is best for me?”, choose that option, and choose not to regret my choice, then things would be much better.
Well… much better for me. I’m not sure how Bob would feel. But also, if I choose to do X because X is good for me, and then someone else invites me to do Y, I need to choose to either go against what I wanted to do originally (X) or choose to give up Y. AND I need to choose not to re-hash my choice later. As a good friend of mine (who I haven’t seen in a while) would say “You have to know that at that moment, you made the best choice you could with the information at hand. You could not have made a better choice.” – usually with an tone/attitude that said “So stop worrying about it. because in the future, you will remember your previous choices and you will remember their outcomes. So if one was worse, you’ll make sure you don’t go down that road again. But what on earth can you do to reverse decisions taken/choices made in the past? Nothing – so stop worrying about it”…
Its well after 12 midnight, and I should be sleeping.