Finding Happy

One of my biggest pet peeves these days is that no one is real anymore. Not online, not in person. We are all in silent competition with each other with who lives the best life, and no one is winning. So, I'm going to do my best to attempt to be really real here.
Last night Caleb and I were both just feeling really low. It was weird, because yesterday was a really good day. Caleb got to work from home, which was awesome. He wasn't busy, which was even more awesome. We spent the whole day as a family, and it was great. So this dark cloud that settled over our home was a surprise to both of us.
We started talking and decided we both just felt sort of dissatisfied, I think we're having a quarter-life crisis. 
As most of you know, Caleb just started a new job. And it's a great job. He's really liked it. And with the pay raise, I've been able to stay home with Dayen, which has basically been my dream forever.
We feel like everything we've been working towards and dreaming about is here. Obviously we still have goals and dreams, but suddenly we are on the wrong side of a lot of the BIG things. The wedding, the first kid, the first home. We are officially settled into the day to day. We feel like all that's left is the "enduring to the end."
We feel like we've arrived, and it was sort of anti-climactic.
We feel like now that we're settled into these lives, we can both look into our futures and see where we're going to be twenty years from now. And it's kind of unsettling.
I know that sounds strange. Three years ago I would have killed to be in this position, but now it feels strange to be so stagnant. I feel like I spend all day every day taking care of this person who has yet to appreciate it, and who loves to throw spaghetti all over my clean floors. I feel like even though I'm so happy and fulfilled to be where I am, I might wake up in twenty years and wish I had done more. Caleb feels like he's fallen into a routine that he's going to have until retirement.
I can acknowledge that in twenty years I will probably laugh at myself that I thought I had it all figured out right now. I know that lots will change, and we may end up somewhere I never expected.
It's just that right now, it all feels pretty predictable and monotonous.
And the reason I wanted to blog about it at all, was that I know we're not alone. I see it, and general unhappiness and dissatisfaction, all around me. And I have a groundbreaking theory that I'm going to talk about in my webinar, for only 39.95! (Spoiler alert: the fix is essential oils!)
Just kidding.
But I do have a theory.
It has to do with something we learned about in High School: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.
It basically says that until our needs from the lower tiers are met, we can't even be concerned with the needs of the higher tiers.
It makes sense: If you don't have food, water, or air, you're not going to be concerned about whether you have friends. (Unless, I guess, they're the ones providing the food, water, or air.) You need those basic things, and then your concern becomes having shelter, and making sure your financial needs are met. Once those things are all in place, We worry about having friends and a companion. And only after that are we concerned with our confidence, or the need to be a unique individual.
My theory is this: we are all way too high up on that gosh-darn pyramid. We're spoiled. We've had it so easy. If you want to take this moment to have a little pity party about how your life hasn't been easy, then go watch a Netflix documentary about starving children in Africa and then get back to me.
Of course we have our challenges, but from day one MOST of our needs are met. Most of us have food and water, a home, friends (or at least access to Facebook and the idea of friends) and we're all stuck on that green tier that tells us the ONLY important thing now is our self-esteem, our emotional needs.
Is it really that surprising that depression and anxiety run so rampant in our society? It's all that's left! No one is going to be on Facebook complaining that they are trapped in a box and don't have any air. If we're being honest, we've all arrived. We might still be saving for our first home, or searching for our soul mate, but ultimately we are way up on this pyramid and we aren't very happy about it.
Like I said, I just had a theory, not a cure. If any of you have any grand ideas, we can collaborate and make millions (although if gluten ends up being the problem, we'll just have to admit they told us so.) 
As far as I can figure, and because most of us pampered babies aren't going to reach self-actualization in this lifetime, the only thing we can really do is CHOOSE happiness. Every day, over and over. Even if we occasionally get knocked down a tier or two. Even if that anxiety monster is eating away at you and telling you there is nothing to be happy about. It seems like every study ever done on a human tells us that we all follow the same basic patterns, we are all predictable and basically animals in a zoo.
But I believe that's why our agency sets us apart more than our giant brains or our fancy cars. (Take that, zebras.) We get to choose, but we also have to choose. Everything else may have been easy, but this one won't be. This is our challenge...should you choose to accept it.
Or, you can just go cry to your mom like Dayen always does. It works well for him.

1 comment:

  1. I loved reading this! Having just started a new job at a library, the perfect one for me I found myself feeling bleh and anxious. After talking with a therapist I realized that it's because I was thinking about this job and thinking oh my gosh I'm going to have to do this same thing every day for years! Just thinking like that made me feel trapped and stuck. So I've stopped that thinking, and have also tried practicing mindfulness which is living in a full moment and other things, and it's helping! So that's my somewhat kinda cure. :) I like the Maslovs hierarchy though!