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.