Sunday, 21 October 2012

Happiness, Philosophy and an Uncertain Future.

If there's something that I miss about studying the most, I think it would be the fact that every single assignment, every single reading and every single lecture had the ability to create some kind of philosophical thought in my mind.  I find it fascinating how differently every individual person thinks.  Me?  I'm a chronic over-thinker.  I analyse things to death, wonder what people's body language and facial expressions mean, whether or not there were a lot of full-stops in a text message which could mean someone is mad because of the way the sentences sound, whether or not someone's tone could have possibly been offensive or defensive - the list goes on and it becomes quite ridiculous a lot of the time.

Now, while this may not be considered to be inherently philosophical as an idea on its own, the fact that my brain is preoccupied with "thinking" is truly philosophical in itself.  The longing to question everything, whether or not it is warranted, the need to understand every tiny part of a conversation, the desire to create some kind of meaning from seemingly meaningless topics has resulted in my obsession with Philosophy.

Something that philosophers have always discussed is the idea of happiness.  Whether or not they believe it to be real, imagined or otherwise, it ultimately preoccupies not only philosophers' minds, but is largely what people generally strive for within their lives.  Now, obviously the term has numerous different meanings for everybody, but personally, I have absolutely no idea what it is that could make me truly, completely, sublimely "happy". 

I have wonderful friends and family, an amazing fiance, a full-time job, a beach at my doorstep, lots of books, Gilmore Girls seasons 1-7, plenty of food and water - I mean, what else could I possibly need to achieve the supposed perfection that is happiness?  I feel happy a lot of the time.  I feel incredibly blessed and fortunate to have all the things that I do, but there always seems to be this nagging feeling that I should be doing more to ensure that I really have my happiness meter where it should be.  This sense of dissatisfaction that I shouldn't be content to just sit back and fall into a
"happy" routine comes to my mind a lot.  It is actually really frustrating and could even come across as selfish, seeing as I already have so much, but obviously that is not my intention.

For me it isn't about material things, although obviously I want to own a house and have nice things, but it's more about this intense fear that I am not living my life to the full and I could be missing out on something "better" if I could just push myself to figure out what it is that I really want.  What is it that is going to make me on the spectrum of happiness where I feel I should be? 

I think it is because a lot of the things that I want to do, I am scared to do. This results in a cycle of uncertainty and thinking that I should be pushing myself more - although at this point in time, pushing myself harder than I am could potentially lead to a nervous breakdown!

Ultimately, I know life isn't perfect.  It is never going to be.  Sure, it can be good, it can even be great, but there is no stopping imperfection slipping in and causing me to question what I should be doing with my life.  Where I want to be, where I would like to see myself in ten years and whether or not I will successfully be able to avoid a mid-life crisis.  As for now, I need to focus on the positives and think positive thoughts about the future.  I need to try and not focus on this un-achievable goal of flawlessness, because that's not what life is about.  When things aren't certain, I tend to freak out and have a meltdown, but I know that everything will be OK eventually. 

I am happy.  There, I said it!  Happiness for me is learning to ride out the unhappy times with the knowledge that I can cope, that I can push myself to keep going when all I want to do is fall apart.  It's the knowledge that even when I'm feeling unhappy, that happiness is just around the corner and I will make it there again eventually, whether or not I ever end up doing all the things I want to, or whether or not I end up where I think I should.  Some things I just can't control, but I know that when it comes down to it, I am an insanely lucky woman who has so much to look forward to and even though the thought of an "un-knowable" future is scary to me, I know that I have the ability to look forward to happiness no matter what the situation, even if the present tries to convince me otherwise.

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