What Happiness Looks Like

To do: Amazon Rentals (crossed off), Sprint contract (crossed off) Haircut (crossed off), oil change, vacuum/carwash, FASFA, shots! (turn down for what?) Second column says Steps: Nutrition plan, self-help/mental health tool kit, church, writing; career/hobby, activism, volunteering.Today, for the first time in a very long time, I felt content and peaceful. I felt optimistic. I felt downright happy. 

This feeling has sort of been with me all day, but it just hit me tonight in the oddest way. I was putting away dishes while listening to Christmas music. A mundane, unmemorable task brought to my attention how happy I was. Strange to say the least.

But I think I know why.

Depression–on top of massive stress and an ever-growing to-do list–kicked my ass for the better part of 2016. Since my school semester ended, I have vowed to get more stuff done, even if “more” just meant “literally anything besides playing video games”. As such, I’ve accomplished a considerable number of things I have needed to get done, (not all of which are written on the list above). I’ve also been getting a steady paycheck again, which is a huge contributor to my self-sufficiency and not feeling like a huge piece of shit.

It seems a bit silly that being productive would fix so many of my problems, but for me? I’m a task-oriented, objective-fixated person. Crossing off a to-do list item is a victory. A victory! It’s obviously not a cure-all though; accomplishing every day tasks and errands isn’t going to help my self-esteem or my increased anxiety. However, maybe now I will actually have the mental energy to pursue help in those areas.

Here’s the thing though: I don’t feel happy or content because I’ve reached a particular goal. I am not at a milestone in life that has me saying, “I finally made it. I am so happy!” I’m a 28-year-old unmarried woman who is still in school with a lowly retail job and a second-rate apartment in a second-rate town. I am far from living the dream life.

But that’s the point! Happiness isn’t a destination! Hell, happiness isn’t even permanent. I, for one, have been prone to mood swings and just being a human being. So, what? I’m going to hold onto this. Because getting stuff done is a victory in that it’s progress. I’m moving onward and upward. That is what my crossed off bullet points are about. That’s what a tangible thing like accomplishments are about. Pushing forward. And you can be happy while you’re pushing. You don’t have to wait until you “get somewhere”.

So that’s what I’ll keep doing–and I’m going to keep playing the Christmas music, too. Tis the season and all.

Published by Jessica

Writer, YouTuber, streamer, gamer, yogi, self-improver--still trying to figure it all out

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