When ____________, I’ll be happy.
When I knew what college I was going to, I’d be happy.
When I figured out what to major in, I would be happy.
When I finally was going to graduate, I would be happy.
When I got a real job, I’d be happy.
When I landed a job, after I lost mine in 2006, maybe I could be happy again.
Once the workplace culture changed, and wasn’t toxic, then I could be happy.
If I could just get a raise, then I’d be happy.
If I could get another raise, I’ll definitely be happy.
Really, last time… I just need another raise, so I can be happy.
I knew a lady who was pretty cool. I didn’t know her well, but we were kind of in the same social circles. One day (after years of lots of hard work) she and her husband became wealthy. They bought a mansion. She drove a crazy cool car. And she always looked happy.
I knew that if I became wealthy (like she had) I would have a big smile on my face all the time, too. I knew that I would be able to relax, and enjoy life, finally. Kind of put the hard parts of “adulting” aside. When that finally happened, I could be as happy as she was.
I commented about how happy she was to a friend. I didn’t know my friend was her close friend. He said, “What’s cool is that she has always been like that. Even in the hard times, while her husband was building his business, when they didn’t have any money, etc., she was always happy. She hasn’t even changed… she has always been like that.”
It was then I realized I had been lying to myself. I was a liar. Because even when I got to the end of whatever little journey I was on, I wasn’t going to be happy. I would have another journey to work on, and when I finished that, I wouldn’t be happy. I finally realized the endless cycle of “when this happens, I’ll be happy” was just a lie.
I started to think I needed to figure out how to enjoy the journey. Enjoy the opportunity to be on it. Enjoy the challenges and the unknowns and the hard parts. I needed to find happiness while, not when.
And that has become my new journey. I strive to be happy along the journey, instead of buying into the lie that I’ll be happy when the journey is over.
Years ago a close friend asked me if I was “happy with where JibberJobber was at.” I quietly thought about and finally responded, “I’m happy, but I’m not satisfied.”
That was so freeing. So empowering. To know that happy didn’t mean the end. There was more that I could do, more than I would do. And I’d let that unsatisfaction drive me. I figure that is much healthier than having unhappiness drive me.
Happy Monday! I hope this helps shift your thinking about where you are at, especially if you are in transition, so you can find happiness, even in these dark times.