DON’T do what makes you happy

I have a reusable grocery bag with the words “Do what makes you happy” printed on it. I have never used it. Why? It would be a lie! When I am at the grocery store I am not doing what makes me happy. So instead of using the bag, I look at it with disdain as I take the other bags from my trunk and then grumble to myself all through the store about what a lie that whole statement is.

Am I a fan of lasting joy? Yes! But let’s be clear, if I simply did what made me happy in any given moment, I would not actually be happy. Lots of things that bring me happiness in the short-term will not bring me joy in the long-term. And lots of stuff that does not bring me happiness in the short-term will bring me joy in the long-term. Grocery shopping, cooking dinner, pulling myself out of warm flannel sheets – none of that makes me happy. Laundry, dishes, picking up socks that multiply all over my house yet are consistently missing their match – no happiness there. Writing? YES. Endless hours of editing – not so much. Working with clients? Sometimes, when it’s easy and fun. Not so much when it’s hard. And that’s really the key. The phrase do what makes you happy, is synonymous to me with doing what’s fun and the truth is there are a lot of parts of life that are just not fun, but they do bring joy.

I am fortunate in that I have a long history of engaging in things that are challenging and out of my comfort zone. Writing is one of those things. I never intended to be a writer, and although I love it, there are parts that are really tough. But for me that means I am on the right path. For me, everything in my life that is worth having has been a struggle to get. Really, I cannot think of a single thing that just fell into my lap that is actually something I would fight to keep – a few friendships perhaps but that’s probably because I spent years learning how to be a friend first.

So, what’s the point of my ramblings. The point is I will be donating my unused reusable bag to charity. I will continue going to the grocery store and generally forgoing short-term happiness for long-term joy. And I will continue to be happy.

The psychologist in me now wants to say that if you find yourself feeling unhappy most of the day and most days of the week, then you might want to consider talking with someone you trust. Now, the writer in me wants to remind you that Book 3 of The Light Series, From the Shadows, is now available. If you’ve read it, review it. If you haven’t read it, read it and then review it. Have an amazing Friday!

~ Jacqueline

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