If You Spend Your Whole Life Chasing Happiness, You Might Never Find It

If You Spend Your Whole Life Chasing Happiness, You Might Never Find It

Happiness is a result of a life worth living; we can't chase the result and leave out the actions.


Hello there! A self-proclaimed self-obsessor here, attempting to navigate my life without sinking my own ship.

The past year of my life has been a bit of a madhouse my wary wandering heart has been crawling through. Not crawling through in a negative way, per say, just neutrally, trying not to set off any traps or lose sight of something important. The novelty of college, newfound independence, blossoming and wilting relationships, and a medley of other life motifs have brought me to a single, stable position: my focus in life is on the wrong thing entirely. A comforting thought, right?

In all honesty, this reevaluation has been a long time coming. For years, I have set my sights on the future with a trembling hold on the present, reaching out for what could be mine and manhandling the people around me who I happen to decide on the spot could or could not help me conquer my goals. With the fiercest case of tunnel vision you've never seen, I have passed up on opportunities, forsaken friendships, and turned my life in the wrong direction all because of my own selfishness. A selfishness I couldn't see.

I have been chasing happiness.

Happiness is not a bad thing, not in the slightest. That's not what I mean at all. I would love to reach a point in my life where I find that despite the bad days and the heartache, despite the workload and the trials, I love where I am and what I'm doing. What I mean is that I've been ignoring the real world and fantasizing about what happiness could mean for me. My utterly impatient and imperfect mind has not been focused on the work that I can do with my life, what I'm capable of, the people around me, any of that. I have become obsessed with the idea of happiness and how it can serve me.

Happiness is a sensation, not a destination. It is unique to everyone and not something that can really be tangibly captured. Try as I might, I can't pin down the direct point in my life and say, "There. If I could do this or be that, if I could love this person or be friends with another, if I could make this much or experience this much, I would be happy." Too often lately I've found myself barely reacting in any given situation, so much so that my actions don't make a difference or an impact in the slightest. My excuse? What if what I'm doing interferes with my personal happiness? What if I can't meet this person and own my personal happiness? What if taking this chance ruins this and my personal happiness is lost forever?

I feed myself the thought that someday, I'll get to the point of having all the happiness in the world with the right job and the right relationship and the right path, attempting to skip the burden of the present. I tell myself that I'll be happier than I've ever been, that I'll be happier than any of the people who have ever hurt me or hated me, that I'll suddenly reach a year in my life where it's all downhill and smooth sailing.

But that's not living.

Telling myself I could be happy? What good could that ever do me? My life is happening in these moments right now, and at any point, I might not get any more. So instead of pining after days in the future that aren't even real, I need to make the choice to actively be content in the life with which I have been blessed. I need to be alive in the present, love the people around me, and stay grounded. God has me here for a reason, and that reason is not to wait around for happiness to strike. It is to glorify Him, be content, and stop chasing after some mystical happy feeling that I think, once reached, can solve my life's problems.

Happiness is a wonderful thing. But it's just a feeling, not my focus. If I work every day with all I have towards life worth living, then I'm more than happy with that.

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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I'm Not Feelin' 22, But I'll Make The Most Of It

The reality of becoming another year older and the stress that it may bring.


Birthdays are all about being the center of attention, - birthday wishes from friends and family, and celebrating another milestone in your life. People go out of their way to buy party favors, set up parties, and buy gifts just to make someone feel special on their birthday. However, some people dread their special day because of anxiety and depression. This past weekend was my 22ndbirthday, and although I'm usually excited for my birthday, this was the birthday I had been dreading.

Birthdays are inevitable. Once you reach past the age of 21, everything seems to go downhill, or at least I think so. Once I realized I was going to be 22 last Sunday, I realized the new responsibilities and norms that come with turning this age. I am a Junior at the University of Arizona, should be a senior, and most of my friends are younger than me. With most of my friends graduating this year at the age of 22, I can't help but feel bad that I will be graduating at the age of 23. After being at a large university for three years, I have felt "behind" because of my age and academic standing. Being the oldest of my friends brings a sense of anxiety out in me and pressure that I should be graduated by now.

Another issue I have with birthdays at this age is the expectation of certain milestones that I have not accomplished yet. With social media being such a large part of our society today, seeing so many different people on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posting pictures of what they are doing every second of the day, it's hard not to feel bad if you are not up to par with others lives. Some people are having babies, while others are going to medical school, where do I fit in?

Although birthdays bring some sense of negativity to me, I think that they should be celebrated in a positive light. My best friend, Colleen, knew I was feeling down about my birthday and wanted to help me feel better about turning the big 2-2. She bought balloons, silly string, and letter banners just to decorate our apartment to make me feel excited about the day. She bought me the most unique presents that only a best friend would know I would have wanted. At the end of the day, we went to my favorite restaurant and with the help of Colleen, my day had turned around.

While you may catch the birthday blues at some point in your lifetime, there are ways to change your attitude on the day. You may hear from someone from the past wishing you a happy birthday that can make you smile, or receive a gift from a family or friend that you had your eye on in the store and they knew you had to have it. Don't compare yourself to others when it comes to birthday plans, live the day how you would like and spend it with the people that matter most to you.

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