How to Experience the Happiness of Life
I found myself reading inspirational stories on a daily basis at that point and personally I had grown tired of them. I wasn’t tired of the fact that these stories existed or of the people who made them so. I was instead tired of having such a desperate need to read them; tired of reading about the stories of others while I remained idle. I’d gain inspiration, and make the decision to take control of my life yet find myself in the same spot a year or more later.
I became aware that I harbored anger but not anger toward another person. That anger was aimed at me for allowing myself to remain in an unhappy situation for so long. I knew years ago that it was all wrong for me. As a creative being, I knew that desk work was stifling and slowly beginning to subdue that creativity, one cubicle job after the other. That anger began to hit a boiling point and was very near splashing completely over the sides of the pot in which it boiled.
I wanted to leave and I suppose that I was seeking someone to give me permission to do so. I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe I wanted someone else to blame if I failed. It took me many years to admit those feelings to myself, much less the world. I feared that I would be labeled some kind of a drifter or perhaps even a failure of some kind. I am admittedly still not quite certain as to why I felt the way that I did. Maybe it was due to societal pressure or well-intentioned advice that had been handed down from a previous generation. I honestly cannot say. I do remember when I first knew that I needed to leave. I used to tell people that I had a choice to make. I’d tell them that I needed to decide not only whether or not to leave but when. What I didn’t either recognize or admit in that moment was that there was no choice to be made. It had in fact, already been made. I just needed to stick to it.
The day I left started as a regular day. The annoyance of the “BWAP, BWAP, BWAP” and the dread were especially heavy on that day. Something outside of the norm happened however. Involuntary tears began to flow immediately upon awakening. In fact, I couldn’t stop them. Perhaps the strangest part of the whole ordeal was the fact that my body didn’t feel like crying (if that makes any sense at all). I didn’t feel emotional yet the tears seemed to come of their own accord. I mean, I suppose I felt a great sadness, maybe a feeling of desperation or even desolation. I felt as if I was caught in a taffy wheel, stretching and pulling along with the sweet candy yet unable to break completely free. I knew that if I was pulled too much longer that I would simply snap in half, my soul breaking into small, random pieces. Unlike taffy however I wasn’t certain that I could be meshed back together. Or maybe I could but I wasn’t certain how seamless I would appear.
Pulling myself up out of bed and peering into the mirror made me think of that person in the movies who no longer cares. You know the guy who’s been dumped and decides to do nothing but walk around wearing only his boxers and robe in a state of dishevelment. Greasy hair, unshaven face, and bloodshot eyes did little to make me feel like a person ready to tackle the day, much less the world.
Finding myself unable to move through my morning workout in proper form didn’t leave me feeling the normal post-workout “high”. It actually only made me feel exhausted the same as it had every day for the past two months. I felt myself growing more hopeless with each passing day and honestly thought about giving up. No, I wasn’t thinking about killing myself. It was really more of a giving up in the sense of just completely accepting that this was my life; getting up every morning attempting to muster up even one small iota of excitement, heading to my cubicle job where every drop of creativity was being zapped piece by piece every day, leaving me as nothing more than an empty, soul-less shell of a person; a shell of arriving home after yet another mind numbing day in my cubicle, walking the dogs, cooking dinner, sitting in front of the television in the hopes of escaping my life (sometimes even living vicariously through the characters on an action movie) only to go to bed and start over again the very next day (you know, the whole “rinse and repeat” thing).
So I asked myself an important question on that day. Was this really how life was supposed to be? I couldn’t allow myself to believe that. I couldn’t allow myself to actually believe that maybe this was it. I had even pondered that maybe I was even unknowingly being secretly watched on television, on some kind of a reality show. One of the few things that had given me hope up to that point was those inspirational videos that I mentioned earlier. I’d find them during searches of desperation; videos that seemed to offer proof that it had been done. Certainly, I could do it if others had. Others had grown their wings and escaped. Surely, I could grow wings of my own and I knew that on that day, I had had enough. On that day, I knew that I simply had to find those wings and take that leap, even if I hit the bottom.
First, it’s important to know that you are not alone. I felt so much loneliness. At times, I’d feel that something was perhaps very wrong with me, that maybe I was somehow the only one who felt the way that I did. I wasn’t and neither are you. There is a reason life and spiritual coaches have such thriving businesses right now. Many people are also in the same boat. Many people are also trying to locate their own escape hatch, trying to find not only their wings but, an actual place in which to fly from.
Secondly, it’s important to be gentle with yourself. I was angry at myself and you might feel the same when you really think about it. Maybe you are angry that you have allowed yourself to stay in such a situation for so long. Trust me, I completely understand this feeling. The key to this is beginning to understand that you have done the best that you have known how to do. I know it may not feel that way but we are all on this journey of life and sometimes it takes us a bit longer to choose a different direction. Forgiveness is huge in any situation. So many of us however hear the word “forgiveness” and we immediately begin to think of other people that we may need to forgive. What about yourself? Sometimes we need to learn to also forgive ourselves before we can move forward.
To start, I bought myself a small journal. Yeah, it’s cliché but there is often great healing in writing. You don’t have to have the skills of the next New York Times Best Seller. All that’s required is a willingness to begin. Find a quiet place to sit down in front of your journal. Close your eyes for a moment, take a few deep breaths and just allow yourself to write whatever comes to mind. Don’t judge. Just write. All I ask is that you make a promise to yourself to do this for the next 21 days. I’ve always heard that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. Check back in with yourself after 21 days to see how you feel. I can almost guarantee that you’ll feel differently.
Maybe you read this article and find yourself in a similar situation. Maybe it’s not a job but something else. Only you know the answer to that but it’s important to remember that we all have those wings. You may sometimes feel that you don’t but you do. Let’s find them so that you too can fly.