We tend to hinge our happiness on things and people. A long bus ride could have been more enjoyable if only we had brought along our earphones. A difficult day would have been less disheartening if only we had a special someone to talk to. A tiresome month could have been more tolerable if only we had lived somewhere it snowed. An uneventful year would have been so much better if only we had been able to take that vacation trip we wanted to.
Our happiness just riding on a trail of If Onlys. The things with If Onlys though, is that, once you actually manage to have that elusive person or place or thing, its magic fades away. And there you go, looking for another If Only. It’s a never-ending drama, which also makes your happiness a perpetually incomplete goal.
This whole ordeal just seems to stink ten times worse when you are scrolling through social media. Everyone else seems to be having a whale of time! If only I had that. If I had that person with me. If I had lived somewhere else. If I had gone somewhere else. I would have been happier. If only.
So what do we do?
Here’s how I deal with it: I try to squeeze out as much joy or peace out of any day that I can. Sure, I would love to go to Reykjavik. I would love to just drop everything and go. But hey, where I live isn’t so bad! The unyielding sunshine piercing through the trees! The petrichor! Amazing! I could paint! I could cuddle in with a book and a cup of tea! I could go to that cafe and gorge on garlic bread!
Whenever you think of If Onlys, try to think of the million Coulds you should do. The trick is to make yourself The Happy Place. When YOU become more interesting than a place or an idea or even a person, when YOU amaze yourself with the things that only YOU can do and when YOU become the source of your happiness…
My God, YOU would be a fearsome, wondrous thing to be behold.