I Feel So Happy It Hurts — And You Can Too
Turning 30 is turning out to be the greatest thing that’s happened to me since my discovery of Poshmark.
Somewhere in the midst of spending a long weekend away with friends, having a surprise party thrown in honor of my 30th year of life and receiving some exciting career news, I had an epiphany — I don’t just want to celebrate life on special occasions. I want to celebrate life every day.
In my previous posts, I’ve talked about not caring about being successful. But I think I may have been afraid of success, or more aptly, afraid of achieving it. It’s not that I don’t care about being successful — I do care — just not in the way most of society cares about it.
What do I mean?
Competitive culture (aka the fake lives we all loathe and love on social media) will get you down real quick if you let it.
Your college roommate started a business and you’re still working for that crappy company you hate? Someone from high school travels the world for a living? A random influencer has a 3 million dollar home equipped with a house manager and personal yoga studio?
The time we spend — actually the time we waste — comparing ourselves and our subsequent lives to our peers could be spent on pursuing what we want to be pursuing — regardless of what pace other people are doing it at.
I think we all know we should be reaching for and hitting goals on our own terms, but that is, as they say, easier said than done. But for me, that’s just now happening. I finally feel like I’m not chasing happiness anymore — not in where I live or what I do for work or really anything. I’m letting the wind take me where it wants, if you will. Although that wind is taking me to reside on the East Coast soon.
Trying To Fit In vs. Feeling Like You Belong
I spent so much time trying to figure out where I belonged in the workforce when I always knew the answer deep down. I didn’t belong in the workforce period. Not in the traditional sense of work, anyway.
I’ve been exclaiming publicly that “I’m a creative!” And “Creatives can’t be tamed!” for years now, but I haven’t been doing anything about it. I feel like I am finally ready to embrace who I am in that sense instead of fighting against it trying to fit into this job or that one.
And I do believe that beautiful, freeing feeling came from turning 30. It came from spending time with people who get me and love me for who I am, showing me how capable I am of going after what I want to because of who I am, not in spite of it.
For so long I wasn’t prioritizing the people I actually cared about because “I didn’t have time.” I had time. I was just wasting it on the wrong things.
Friends Are A Gift Like No Other
My best friend called to wish me a happy birthday a few weeks ago (you know, on my birthday), and our chat propelled me to quit worrying about things that might happen and only focus on things that (1) we can control and (2) that we give a damn about.
She said to me….
“We can’t waste time on stuff that just doesn’t matter. Look how many memories we have from college up until now where we are starting our own families and living our lives the way we want to with cocktails and vacations. We are always living the life and it’s only getting better.”
I always feel lighter after talking to her. But it got me thinking — why do we sometimes feel guilty for feeling happy? Why do we feel this incessant pull of being on edge when things are going right in our lives?
And then I remembered a Netflix special I watched awhile back featuring Brene Brown, highly intelligent researcher on human feelings and emotions, where she said the emotion we fear the most is joy. And really, how true is that? How many times do we feel so happy we feel terrified?
It looks a little like this in our heads…
I have healthy children? I have a hot, successful, loving husband? I was offered a job that pays quadruple compared to my last one AND lets me work from home? There’s no way this can all last. There’s no way I deserve this.
And so we feel guilty for feeling happy. When really, we need to feel grateful for feeling that way, no matter if it’s fleeting or long-lasting.
We are so lucky to be alive we don’t even realize how huge that is. If you are spending your time on things or people that upset you, I encourage you to reevaluate what’s important to you and realize you are worth the happiness and fulfillment that you deserve (sans the happiness guilt).
And if we’re going to celebrate life every day, we’ve got to keep our heads on straight, which might take more than a well-made cappuccino and fabulous workout class. Although that combo usually does do the trick for me, we gotta be thankful for all the good happening to us and around us in order to keep the celebratory high up.
Thanks for reading!