We are all on a mission in life. We all strive to be the best we can be, to be happy, to have the perfect house, family, and career. We all want to get through our to-do lists, bucket lists, and make our families proud. Most of us want to get a promotion, earn more, and be super-successful. To me, it feels like an endless treadmill (and you all know how I feel about exercise) and my track is heading to the wrong program. The faster I go, the further away I get from my goals. So, I question (as I sit here in the carpool line) are we all setting ourselves up to fail? Is there a perfect life? And how does this make us happy? Are we happy? I sometimes think that the quest for happiness and success is a big part of why we feel unhappy and unfulfilled.
Most of us set high expectations for ourselves. As a consequence, we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves in every aspect of our lives. Social media doesn’t help us as it touts success, beauty, and healthy living – healthier than we are living. Worse, if we look at our friends and peers, it seems they’re all doing it better, and we have fallen short. Let’s get real, this is all over expectation and a set up for disappointment and despair.
I spent years trying to conform to please people, and it made me unhappy and unfulfilled. The perfect life seems out of reach, but if you look at my life on the outside, it looks ideal to everyone else. Guess what? Nope. I have decided that from now on, I need to restore my happiness and live for my passions, hopefully as a career, but if not as a hobby. I’ve learned a lot about myself and from watching others, how we become happy and how we can live a perfectly imperfect life.
So this is what I’ve learned on my journey:
- Things usually don’t go according to your set plan
- You’re doing the best you can with what you have, and that can be perfect (imperfectly)
- Your to-do list will never be finished
- NOBODY has a perfect life (regardless of their social media postings)
- Happiness is not a place to arrive when you resolve all your problems
- Your quest for the perfect life is what stops your ultimate happiness
You made plans with friends for the weekend, but the weather is uncooperative. Now you are prevented from enjoying the weekend because you are focused on the negative. If you are still spending time with friends and family, that’s your positive focus, so be happy.
Your to-do list will never be done because as fast as you tick things off, more stuff gets added to it. We never have the right amount savings, so we work harder. We want security, to be comfortable, and we never achieve it because we always want more. We want our spouse to be perfect and loving, but being human, that’s impossible. Things don’t always turn out the way we dream them, but that’s alright. We can still find our happy.
I think that we all have a desire to be perfect, and with that comes stress about making the wrong life choices. When we reach that fork in the road, how do we choose? Only we know where the road began, so how do we find the courage to choose the “right” path? Like you, I have regrets. I regret not having the courage to follow my path, the one that was darkened by a canopy of trees so I couldn’t see beyond the first few steps. All I did was delay my dreams and my happiness. But, there are no wrong choices in life. Every choice we come across will have ups and downs; we have to know how to find the silver linings.
When we follow unrealistic expectations of a perfect life and expect constant happiness and contentment, we’ve missed the point. Happiness is there in all the imperfect moments strewn about our everyday lives. It’s way too easy to get caught up in the cycle of always wanting more. Keep in mind that once the novelty wears off, we will be unhappy yet again. Happiness is about loving what we have instead of running after what we think we want. Let’s all try to focus on the good in every imperfect moment of every day, and we’ll all feel happy and fulfilled.
“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.” ~Robert Frost
Stay motivated and caffeinated!😉☕