A Shift in Perspective and Expectations, the Happiness that Ensues


My life is what some would call busy. I am currently taking 19 credits (6 classes) at a University along with working 15-20 hours during the weekdays. On top of this I have many wonderful friends and am in a committed relationship, and for all of these individuals I make sure that they are given the time and attention that they deserve from me.

I am in no way complaining. I’m very satisfied with my life. Of recently, every day I feel overwhelmed with love and appreciation for my life and for existence as a whole.

In the past, I absolutely dreaded being what some consider ‘busy’ and I literally avoided a packed schedule at all costs. I suppose I had this theory in my head that the introversion in me would make certain that too much involvement in the external world would result in my inevitable debilitation, depleted energy sources, and that I would become not unlike a deflated balloon lying sadly on the basement floor after an intense session of adolescent helium inhalation.

Well, my theory was wrong. This is not because having a packed schedule is equally as easy as sitting on my couch watching crappy netflix movies all day, but because I have somehow cultivated an attitude that embraces this way of life and I maintain a somewhat realistic perspective of my life situation.

You see, I’ve actually adopted a way of life that I’d always thought that I’d hate. The fact of the matter is, I probably could hate it. However, I am going to explain to you why there’s no way I ever could.

I’ve discovered that your satisfaction with your ‘life situation’ or schedule, or whatever you wish to call what it is you do on a daily basis, is greatly determined by both your perspective of reality and your expectations of life.

For many years of my life I found myself to be perpetually dissatisfied and I could not place my finger on exactly what was causing this subtle, yet persistent discontent that was quietly tucked away in the corners of my heart. Of course one can always find an external reason to label as the culprit of our discontent: life is messy like that.

I’m nearly positive that everyday each and every one of us could create a list of over one hundred reasons to be in a bad mood, to be stressed, and to be unhappy.

Haven’t you noticed though, that there are some days that you wake up and you’re inexplicably happy? Haven’t you found that on these strange days you’re at peace, and as some would call ‘just straight chillin,’ and you really can’t offer a definitive reason for your good cheer?

We call days like this it ‘waking up on the right side of the bed,’ yet don’t you find that we perpetuate this cliche statement because we as human beings haven’t yet discovered the answer as to why we can be still be happy when we live in a world where there is an overwhelming amount of reasons to support each of us waking up everyday feeling incredibly miserable?

Let’s look at our present situation objectively, shall we? We reside on this weird blue ball which is floating in an infinitely vast expanse of a dauntingly enigmatic blackness which we call the universe. We don’t know why exactly we’re even here or why we exist at all. A significant number of our fellow human beings want nothing more than to extort us, abuse us, cheat us, use us and or murder us, and many partake in the activity of ‘making the world more terrible’ every second of every day. We’ve invented this shit called nuclear weaponry whereby some dude somewhere who’s having a bad day could decide to be like, ‘hey, what does this button do?’ and we all become dust quicker than one can say ‘piña colada.’ And the list goes on…

My intention is not to depress all of you, it is actually to do the opposite. My intention is to get you to realize that on those days when you ‘wake up on the right side of the bed,’ you have unknowingly tapped in to one of life’s greatest secrets and it’s best kept wisdom.

This being that happiness is not actually dependent on the external world.

Isn’t that a thought? You can actually flunk out of college, be rejected from American Idol because you are a lousy singer, lose your job, and still be happy?!  I tend to believe so.

To get back on track, what I have found in my own life is that my former discontent is slowly diminishing. This is not to say that I’m always ‘happy’ or that I’m always ‘at peace,’ because that’s certainly not true. What is shifting though, is that I am finding that my life is no longer marked by an undercurrent of disrest.

I think the answer for why this shift is occurring is multi-faceted, but can be summarized by saying that I’ve both developed more of an objective perspective of my life, and I have loosened my grip around my expectations of life.

Mark Twain famously stated “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”

I think a lot of us spend our lives pissed off at the world because we believe it owes us something.

It’s quite staggering when one grasps that the world actually owes us nothing, that the world was here long before us, and will continue to exist long after us, that the dance of life is manifested through many bodies and many minds, and that our individual body and mind is but a foamy crest on the wave of a limitless ocean.

A question has begun to follow me on an everyday basis: if the woman who lives in a dilapidated shack, subsisting on a wage of less than $2 an hour, whom has endured struggles that I as an over-priveledged, white American could not even begin to comprehend, wakes up today and is happy, what reason could I possibly conjure that justifies me not being happy?

You see, happiness is about finding a reason to be grateful, to be appreciative for what it is that you already have. For some this may be their ipad, and for others this may be a steaming bowl of rice that gives them the strength to work a 12 hour shift to support their family.

When you begin to see that life does not exist to meet your expectations and demands, that people do not exist to tiptoe around your every insecurity and cater to your every whim, that no one is going to remember that you farted in the office meeting this morning, it becomes infinitely easier to allow the love, satisfaction and joy into your heart: the love, satisfaction and joy in which life patiently awaits to pour into your being– if only you allowed the universe to be just as she already is and as she always will be.

 

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