Are you waiting for happiness to come along?
Lauren talks about the waiting room of life we all seem to be stuck in
This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
"People seem to be waiting for their lives to begin, for their happiness to come to them. We are existing until we can one day live. "
The pressure suffocates each and every one of us like a soaking wet beach towel wrapped tightly around a pair of swimming goggles. The same goggles will fit many people, yet we the people all view the world around us through the goggles so very differently. It's funny isn't it? Some of us will put the goggles on and dive straight into the ocean savouring the views of dazzling sea life, loggerheads, starfish and coral, others will put the goggles on slowly and then even more slowly dare themselves to stick their head in and out of the water a hundred times before plucking up the courage to spend more than two seconds down there.
Some of us throw the goggles mercilessly into the sand and run straight for the sun chair and vino. No matter what we decide to do with our goggles, no matter how we choose to view the world through them, I feel that more and more of us are abandoning whatever unique view of life we possess or want to possess as individuals, we are putting it all on hold and joining the waiting room of life. People seem to be waiting for their lives to begin, for their happiness to come to them. We are existing until we can one day live.
Some of us are simply waiting for the day we graduate so we can start living life away from books, lectures and stress migraines, some of us are waiting to lose weight so we can get married, enjoy parties and holidays without the extra few pounds that make us so self conscious, some of us are waiting for better paid employment so we can enjoy some extra disposable income rather than the regimented tax payments, loan pay offs and rent. Some of us are even waiting for our children to grow up so we can start living life again the way we used to, nappy free with Sunday lie-ins.
While college years can drag by like a relentless tooth-ache, while money being tight may hold off a weekend in Cork or a Michael Kors watch, while a spare tyre may be disheartening and while nappies can smell and children can exhaust you, we must practice living in the present. We must relish what we DO have. It's time to be a little more grateful and a little less negative.
The pressure to be 'doing'
The more people I talk with, the more pressure I feel to be doing something ALL the time. Ever feel that way? Tommy Tiernan, during a gig at Vicar street ranted hilariously about this 'doing malarky'. He said ''Irish people want to know what you're doing, you dare not say you're doing nothing because then you have to be up to something suspicious''. So not only are we waiting for happiness to come to us with open arms and say, ''Hi there, the kids are eighteen now, jump aboard'' or ''Hey girl, I see you've finally lost that three stone, let me show you the way to happy'', we're now also putting ourselves under extreme pressure to do more and more and more.
For instance, a recent study in the Irish Examiner found that stay at home mums who were dropping their children off at school were feeling embarrassed alongside working mums. Interestingly, working mums admitted to feeling ashamed standing next to stay at home mums, knowing that unlike these mums, they would not be standing there at the end of the school day. Nothing is ever good enough. We are never satisfied that we are doing enough or have done enough.
I may not have years on my side and all the wisdom that comes with those years but I do have some experience that enables me to write this post. Last year, I had no choice but to leave my new born baby at home with my family and his dad. I studied two and a half hours away five days of the week and only saw my baby at the weekends. I cried every Sunday night I had to leave him to go back to college. I felt that I wasn't doing enough even though I was doing a full time degree and finishing it for the two of us. I spent my entire year waiting. I simply wished those months, weeks and days away every second of the day.
I'm finished college now and adopting a whole new outlook, I can safely say that the stress I caused myself through my own unguarded thoughts was not necessary or good or deserved. I'm not the only one who has treated myself in this way. Many have done the same and are doing the same every single day. The truth is, happiness is not going to come to us, we must go and seek out happiness. We can still make plans, look into the future, and dream of bettering ourselves, whether it's academically, financially or otherwise but we do not have to put our happiness on hold.
We are all human. Not every day is going to be great. Not every moment is going to be perfect, romantic or even pleasant. But everyday CAN be better than it is from the view of what we see out the window of life's waiting room.