Many of us spend our entire lives believing that if we could only get the things we want, then we would be happy. From a young age we are programmed to believe that having more money will enable us to do more of the things we love to do. That a faster car, or the latest technology or new clothes or updated furniture for our home will make it easier to enjoy our lives. That getting the things we want will make us more joyful. Content. Complete.
And for a short time it does.
That is, until we subconsciously move the goal post.
At some point we will come to realize that whatever new thing we’ve acquired won’t ease all our fears, cure all our aches, feed all our hunger and erase all our pain. In times like this, what else is there to do but seek out some new gadget that might? To shift our focus to the next big ticket item we believe we need? To turn our attention to the thing we now realize we just can’t be happy without. The same is even true of financial windfalls. Isn’t it funny how money we aren’t even expecting somehow feels like it isn’t enough once our minds starts running through all the possible ways we could spend it?
The truth is, friends, many of us view happiness as a destination. A place at which we will hopefully one day arrive. A perfect parcel of land, upon which we will build our dream homes and work to raise our dream families. There, the jobs will be fulfilling. We will have jeans that fit. In this place, no one has holes in their socks, visible gray roots or toilets whose handles need jiggling. It’s a place of abundance and certainty. A worry-free zone. Once we get to this place, then we can finally be happy.
What if whenever we get that thing we keep telling ourselves we need, some new need just rises up to fill its place?
What if we finally arrive at that idyllic parcel of land only to realize our dream home doesn’t feel quite the way we thought it would?
What if the image of perfection we’ve carefully crafted in our minds doesn’t actually exist?
Friends, I think it’s possible that happiness isn’t a destination at all— but a direction. A lens through which we see our reality. A way of being in the world.
Found through the forever practice of seeking peace and contentment in life just as it is— even in the midst of all our wanting.
And marked by our ability to look down at the unassuming parcel of land we currently inhabit, only to realize we have already arrived.