20 May Happiness: It’s All About Perspective
A few years back, I was having a very regular and normal conversation with a long time friend over the phone. Out of nowhere, she shared that the prospect of being thirty and unmarried was depressing her. She said it with a laugh but it was clear that she really was terrified. Given our lengthy friendship and besides, I was always known as the brutally honest one in the group, I expressed my shock. I never thought of her as THAT girl! I quickly rattled off her accomplishments, a few facts about how love cannot be given a timetable, and finished it off with reassurance that she would find someone, one day.
Don’t get me wrong. I have heard this same panic from men. The only difference is that they are usually in their late 30s or 40s. But the feeling is the same. The quest for a partner becomes so overwhelming and the focus of life that happiness hinges on this one thing.
Love is just one example. I am sure we all know people who think their life is over because they are unmarried over 30. Or people who wish kids on you like it is a curse or plague…just wait ’til you have them! Or people who complain about a dead-end job but do nothing about it. They lay claim to happiness only if some outside force could set their love life, family, or career in order. Yes, you do know these people or perhaps it’s you.
Over a period of living, I’ve learned that happiness lies within you. Happiness has nothing to do with your marital status, whether you have kids or not, or the perfect job. These are all external! Once you look within yourself to develop and understand your purpose in life, then you know that happiness is about perspective. Being single over 30 becomes more free time to think about your goals and do the things you want to do without having to “check in” with someone all the time. Be selfish a little! The dramas of parenthood become bonding moments and lessons learned. After all, each stage is temporary! They will grow up and move out, right? And that dead-end job becomes a place to learn what NOT to do and earn a steady income while you acquire additional skills to ready yourself for your calling.
Don’t waste your time in life focusing on what you don’t have. Think deeply and list all the things in life for which you should be thankful. Look around you and take note of all the opportunities.
Happiness is not as elusive as you think…it is right in front of your face.
Shaheewa Jarrett Gelin is the author of Love’s Mental Imprints: Speak, Hope, Dream, Listen