I remember once in grade school a good friend asked me if I was happy. That really shook me because I felt that my mask was firmly in place and he was able to see right through it. The thing was growing up in a dysfunctional family I never really shared with outsiders what was going on in my life/family. I created a bubbly fun facade. I was a popular girl but no one really knew what was going on under the mask that I created and presented to the world. They only saw what I allowed them to see which was someone in a trouble free environment whose only concerns were those similar to yours at that age, where as the truth was something more.
As a result I always focused on milestones. During grade school I could not wait to go to college. During college I could not wait to graduate and get a job. Once I got a job I could not wait to start my own business.
One thing that did not become clear at the times that all this was happening was the now. I never stopped and focused on the now and enjoyed it for the sake of pure enjoyment. Even once I got out of my toxic environment and was living on my own. Something that thrilled me to no end, I had serenity for the first time in a very long time. Peace and quiet. My home became my sanctuary.
But still I was always looking for the next thing. Waiting for that next milestone. It was like the dieter who felt his/her life would be great once they lost those 10/20 lbs. Only to lose the weight and realize their life is still the same. No better or worse. In the forefront of my mind it was always thought that my happiness was predicated on a different time/thing.
It was the same thing with my milestones. It was never a matter of working with where I currently at, it was always looking for that shiny object/thing that was going to make my life better. In a way it's like a coping mechanism to not worry about today, as tomorrow will be better or the next day. While in essence every day should/would be better than the last because you should always have something to strive for but adding other items to the mix.
But here is the thing. While I am still an advocate of goals to strive for I am also a big proponent of walking up every day and being grateful. Grateful for my health. Grateful for my family and friends. Grateful for my life. The list goes on and on. But I also look and expect something good to happen in my day. The funny thing is when I expect something good to happen it invariably does. In the simplest and sometimes often overlooked ways.
One thing I noticed is that as human beings we are often expecting bad things to happen. We don't buy lotto tickets because we feel "someone like me would never win". Or when it comes to promotions we feel that "It would go to someone else".
For if someone smiles at me or tells me to have a nice day, or if I see a blind man needing help and I get to help him (this is truly selfish as helping people makes me happy). Finding money in my purse or finding a new outfit that I forgot I purchased (this happens way too often but I still love it).. Every day for me has now become a milestone that I did not have to chase it for it just shows up and I am very grateful for it. I still have goals and long term projects that I look forward to. Only now I do not hold my happiness hostage until this day. I no longer chase happiness for it finds me every day. Please do yourself a favor and start living in the now and find your happiness daily. Expect great things to come to you and they will!