The American life is interesting.
It’s not always great.
It’s not always bad.
But it is interesting.
We have so much freedom in America. Or at least it seems we do. Or at least we do in comparison to other countries. We have the right to free speech– which really is the most amazing thing. I am forever grateful for this right.
Americans are also given the right to the pursuit of happiness. But, I think this really throws people for a loop. Why? Well, it’s not the right to happiness, but rather, the right to the pursuit of happiness. What does this mean?
I think it means that we have the right to chase after happiness– to go for the gold, to be ambitious, to try and get what we want.
So, is that problematic? Not exactly. Not in and of itself, no. But I do think it throws people off, so to speak, because this chase– this consistent need to achieve and gain something– keeps us in a constant state of motion where we are always after the next goal. We haven’t even stopped to enjoy the kill before we are off attacking our next prey.
I think this is why happiness alludes so many Americans. I speak to America because I am an American and I am not knowledgable enough about other countries and cultures to speak about their levels of happiness and contentment.
I think we all need to stop for a second, or at least slow down, and ask ourselves, “What exactly does the life I want to live look like?” Not the life someone else has or wants– not the life society, the media, or our parents tell us we should want– but the life we actually desire. Maybe that life doesn’t include a million dollars. Is that okay? Fuck yeah, you better believe it is. I think ambition goes a long way, but pure joy that comes from within goes a lot further.
Some people are going to be happy with corporate or office jobs. Other people are going to be happy teaching in a classroom. Some will be happy as painters, writers, and musicians. Some people will be happy working retail or cleaning houses. The point is that we need to do what will make our lives truly content by doing what is naturally calling to us. This is what that freedom– that right that is given to us– could mean. It’s possible that your calling will mean you become a PhD or a CEO. And that’s awesome. But if your calling is to be a mechanic, a stay-at-home mom, or an aspiring artist, then that’s equally awesome.
This same calling can be attributed to all parts of our lives– not just our careers and jobs. It’s in everything. It’s in how you look, what your hobbies are, how you keep your house, etc. You can observe and notice what other people are doing, but ultimately, you need only take what works for you and leave the rest. Be yourself. Be wholly and unabashedly you. And then love every teensy-weensy part of it.
We are all one and we are all in this together. No one is better. No one is worse. We are all equal. Don’t compete for what other people want– just go after what you truly and genuinely want for yourself. Find your calling from within and you can find joy in this life.