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I remember the joy of being a young kid.
It was so wonderful. Just thinking back to it makes me smile. I never worried about anything. I took chances without hesitation, and I never judged anyone, let alone myself.
I was playful and energetic—full of hope and dreams. I did cartwheels, played hide-and-seek, loved dancing, and used to laugh until my belly hurt. I felt free.
Since then, it seems as if I’m always chasing happiness—trying to get that little girl back.
I have tons of books that I’ve purchased over the years, telling me ways I can try to be happy. I’ve put in the work, done the projects, and yet I still struggle. Go to sleep earlier, exercise, eat better, act like you have energy, practice affirmations—yes, they all helped, but it still wasn’t enough for me.
The act of trying to be happy can actually be just as frustrating as not being happy!
Why couldn’t I just bounce out of bed with a smile on my face?
Why did I always have to focus on what was wrong instead of what was good?
Why couldn’t I be more relaxed about things and just let them play out like they should instead of trying to control every situation?
Why couldn’t I see that I was a beautiful person who had a big heart and was struggling to find her way?
“Happiness depends upon ourselves.” ~ Aristotle
I’ve realized that I kept putting myself in stressful situations. I was always trying to keep up with the standards of our western society: be a mom, caregiver, wife, friend, employee, banker, and maid. And while you are doing all of that, don’t forget to eat healthily, take care of yourself, exercise, practice mindfulness, continue your education, pursue your dreams, and still have time for yourself!
Huff, do you want to know why it’s so hard to be happy? Nothing is simple anymore.
We hardly have any time for ourselves. We don’t spend that much quality time with our families, our spouse, or our friends. We forget what it’s like to be playful because we are in a constant state of overdrive.
It’s also hard to feel happy without having energy! When our day-to-day tasks consume all of our energy and the reserves, there is nothing left for fun.
I know I make everything more complicated than it needs to be. I am a control freak, perfectionist, and struggle with addiction. So I am trying to simplify my life. I am practicing wanting less (this one is hard) and doing less. I am taking the time to get to know myself, my likes, needs, and desires.
I also recognized that I couldn’t do these things while I was drinking. I have to be sober (and stay sober) to really experience the joy and possibility that life holds.
I’ve found that I don’t have to chase happiness when I am sober, it finds me.