We’ve all had it—some just more times than others—that moment, however long-lasting or fleeting it may have been, of feeling truly and blissfully content. We’ve seen it on screen or recognized it in our friends’ endless Facebook posts about how blessed and thankful they are that everything is going according to plan. Or, if it didn’t go according to plan, everything fell into place and ended up better than they could have ever conjured up themselves.
But we are different. We aren’t ungrateful. We know we have more than most. We may not have it all, but we have enough to know we should be more satisfied. There’s the guy who snagged the on-paper-impressive job only to realize it wasn’t all he envisioned it to be. There’s the lonely girl who started dating her Pinterest-perfect boyfriend who has the majority of the qualities she wanted but a lot of the ones she didn’t. There’s the mother who grew her identity in growing her children, and now that they’re gone, all of the peace and quiet leaves more “me time” than she planned for or wanted.
We aren’t miserable. We know how to have a good time. We can enjoy our friends and genuinely support their many—so, so many—successes. We can find pleasure in the pursuit of hobbies and professions. We feel accomplished when we win that game or praise from the boss or get that concept down that we were struggling with. We know joy, and we cherish it.
We cherish those little glimpses into normal because we know they are transient. They’re the familiar acquaintance who stops by for a drink when in town but has other plans for the rest of the weekend. They’re the year-end bonus at work while that guy who always asks questions in meetings got the promotion. They are the year-long, steady relationship that’s going swimmingly, until you start to think maybe he doesn’t completely “get” you in the way a soul mate probably maybe is supposed to.
Is there something wrong with us? Is it that we have a healthy sense of ambition and self-worth? Maybe we just feel that twinge of settling and we know, or at least we’ve been told at one point or another, that we deserve more than average and if we wait and don’t settle, we’ll find something custom made and meant to be. It is possible that we suffer from a hormone imbalance. Maybe it’s nothing a little Cymbalta or probiotics or God forbid, exercise, couldn’t fix.
We aren’t doomed to a life of “meh.” Instead of moping or feeling inadequate, we should take it and run with it. We can learn to use this personality flaw in our favor. For every angst attack that would historically drive us to wallow in self-pity, let’s call a friend for happy hour or prepare questions for that work networking event or go for a run. Maybe what all of those truly happy people have realized is that they are in control of their own happiness, and all we need to do is make that choice.