The Day I turned 23 I came to the rather profound realisation that I, like so many before me, am unhappy.
I’m not entirely sure why. I have always had a loving and caring family, I have a beautiful girlfriend and a cohort of close friends, always willing to lend a sympathetic ear when necessary. I am financially stable, with a roof over my head and a university degree which should be my key to a bright and opportunity filled future. Yet at my lowest days, all this has a tendency to make me feel worse. I appear to have all the basic building blocks needed for happiness, so why do I feel this way?
I feel selfish. Everyday we are reminded of how much worse it could be…impoverished families, starving homeless, displaced refugees. What right do I have to be displeased with my lot?
Yet here I am, in spite of all the advantageous cards I have been dealt thus far, profoundly unhappy. Stricken with a deep understanding that I am not where I want to be in my life, and crippled by a foreboding (and hopefully irrational) fear that I may never be exactly where I want to be. After all, how can I ever reach it when I don’t even know what ‘it’ is.
I am well aware that I am not alone in this general feeling of lost-ness. ‘Life is hard’. We are all reminded of this fact in one iteration or another throughout our lives. We all feel this universal truth particularly poignantly during our teenage years. We look to those older than us, understanding anybody over the age of 20 as having been officially inducted into the shadowy and powerful world of adulthood, we are soothed by the well worn comforters of ‘we all go through it’, ‘its just hormones’ and ‘things will be easier when you are older.’ We talk comfortably about the trials and tribulations of our pubescent years, with little to no mention of the fresh horrors that await us over the hump.
Our twenties are tough. Another universal truth which needs to be better recognised and openly addressed. I mean seriously, what the fuck am I supposed to be doing? Why is there nobody to tell me? It seems so reckless to leave me so un-tethered in this grown-up world. Should I be hitchhiking across some unknown land or buying my first house? Focusing on my career or drifting from one job to another? Starting a family or sleeping around? Everybody seems to be carving their own path through life, how can I possibly know which one to choose?
The one thing I have realised after opening up about this dilemma is this…Despite all our differences, all the various stages we may find ourselves in throughout our twenties, their is a single drive which unifies us all. We are all on our personal pursuit of happiness.
“It was right then that I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson, the declaration of independence and the part about our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking: how did he know to put the pursuit part in there? That maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue. And maybe we can actually never have it, no matter what. How did he know that?”The Pursuit of Happyness
So there it is. I refuse to wallow in self pity any longer. It is time to truly reflect on my life and figure out how to set things right. This is the first step on my own pursuit of happiness. Come walk with me.