Here’s a post I wrote last week. Hope you enjoy it!
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Today kind of sucks.
I’m writing this from many, many miles in the sky. I’m on my way to World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon, but there’s something way wrong with this picture.
My flight is delayed, my baggage will arrive in Portland a day after me, and I’m sitting on this airplane far away from my husband in a seat next to the bathroom.
I’m not happy right now.
Except — you know what? — I’m about to be.
The Fake Future
We’ve all been taught to think about the future. You prepare so diligently for its arrival — for college, for a job, for a family, for all the unknowns to come.
The downside to preparation is leaving enjoyment for later.
It’s not our fault, really. We focus so heavily on the future that we instinctively think that each next step we’re aiming for will bring us the happiness we so crave.
I’ll be happy when I quit my job.
I’ll be happy once I close that deal.
I’ll be happy when I move out of my parent’s house.
Let me guess — happiness is just off the horizon, and you’re coming up on it soon, right?
That’s ridiculous. There’s no putting off happiness. It’s here for you to enjoy NOW.
There’s just one problem…
Introducing Happiness Later Syndrome
You suffer from it. I suffer from it. We all suffer from it. Happiness Later Syndrome has got to stop.
I’m the first to tell you that I haven’t mastered this concept 100%. Just like you, I suffer from Happiness Later Syndrome, but I’m working on it.
Note: Writing this blog for all of you is so much cheaper than therapy.
I don’t have it all figured out, but I’m striving toward an awesome life with all of you. Part of that is becoming happier in the moment, regardless of what’s going on around me.
Lately, here are the worst causes of my Happiness Later Syndrome:
- I think I’ll be happy when I finish my work with a specific client.
- I think I’ll be happy when I get more design clients for my company.
- I think I’ll be happy when I can write all day without worrying about money.
When I feel like this, there are a few tactics and exercises I go through to forget the future and focus on being happy NOW.
If you’d like to try some of them, here they are below:
- As often as I remember, I make a list of three things I’m grateful for. I don’t remember every day, but it helps me when I do. It shifts my mind from a place of scarcity to a place of abundance.
- I exercise while daydreaming. I think about all the possible routes my life might take — in a “One day I’ll perform onstage with the Jonas Brothers” kind of way. Big happy dreams only.
- I give myself time to refuel my batteries. That may mean sleeping in or taking the time to have lunch with a friend. It all depends on what my body is asking me for.
These are all just examples of practices that work for me, but it all sums up to compassion.
Self-compassion is the road to smooth and sustainable growth.
Being compassionate with yourself doesn’t mean you won’t get bruised up from time to time. It’s about how you react and deal with those downturns.
Making Happiness Happen
So, did I achieve it? Am I happy as I sit here on a delayed plane next to the bathroom?
I did achieve it. I am happy. I beat Happiness Later Syndrome. Here’s how:
I pulled out a piece of paper and wrote down the reasons why I’m so grateful to be here right now.
- JJ and I are both happy and healthy on this pseudo-safe aircraft. (Hi there, turbulence!)
- After dreaming about it for a year, I succeeded in bringing JJ with me to this conference.
- Sitting in a semi-comfortable chair for five hours with a computer is a writer’s dream. I’m going to make use of my time.
- I have four full days of wonderfulness and plenty of great friends awaiting me in Portland.
One of my favorite quotes is an anonymous one. It goes like this:
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
I invite you to think about what’s putting off your own happiness and deal with it head on:
Is there something in particular you’re waiting for?
If you’re suffering from Happiness Later Syndrome, how could you stop it?
What could you do today to be happy NOW?
These are just a few questions for you to consider. I hope you’ll share your answers and stories in the comments below.
Somewhere between Miami and Los Angeles, I’m wishing you awesomeness.