Don’t Wait. Be Happy Now.

Don't Wait Be Happy Now

We’ve been lied to all our lives. You know that, right?

We’ve been taught, through society, through movies, through our parents even, that things are always going to be better in the future.

From as early as elementary school, we look at the middle schoolers and think they’re so cool. We can’t wait to be just like them. So we spend our days dreaming of what it’ll be like to be in middle school, failing to understand that those are some of the most awkward years of our lives.

Later when we make it past those awkward years, we’re in high school. As freshmen we look at the seniors and can’t freaking wait to be the oldest. We can’t wait to go to prom, our senior trip, for graduation even.

Then we’re seniors and we go to prom, we go on our senior trip, we graduate. But by the time we get there, we’re too busy focusing on college acceptance letters to really enjoy those things that we looked forward to for so many years.  It passes by just like that.

It’s kind of sad.

In college we bitch and complain about the amount of work we have to do. We hate being in the library, studying. We look forward to graduation. We think that it’ll all be better when we have jobs, when we’re making money. We’ll be working hard, but at least we’ll be making money. Surely, this is when we’ll be happy…

Then we finally get jobs! Most of us, anyway. And when people ask us if we’re happy we say something like…”well, not right now, but I know that once I get a promotion, I’ll be happy…this is an entry level job  and I hate it, but I’ve got to start somewhere.”

Then we get promoted and we’re still not satisfied.

So tell me, when are we happy?

Once I make partner…

Once I have a house…

Once I find a husband…

Once I have kids, that’s when everything will be okay.

Once I travel to Europe…

Once I get my Masters degree…

Once I get my PhD…

Now let’s see…

I, personally, haven’t done any of those things. So what does that mean? Does that mean that the past 21 years of my life have been a total waste? Because that would really suck.

It’s no secret that people want to be happy. There are 505682894735 million books written on happiness, the secret of happiness, how to understand happiness so you can be happy, etc. etc. etc.

So why aren’t we?!

I have a huge problem with people who tell me not to worry, that I have all the time in the world ahead of me to do the things I want to do. I hate it because it makes me focus so much on the future that in doing so, I lose sight of what’s in the present.

I think this happens to a lot of people.

So if you want to do something, please do it.

If you want to change careers, please do so.

If you want to get your masters, go for it.

If you want to start a company, who’s stopping you?

Just do it NOW and love every second of it.

But  in doing all the things you want to do, make sure that you’re actually living your life. Make sure that every day you stop for a second and appreciate everything that you have because it’ll pass you by and you”ll miss it.

You can be happy now. Today, not tomorrow. Not five years from now.

Happiness doesn’t depend upon your next accomplishment. Because if you’re awesome, you’re always going to have another success ahead of you, another milestone to reach.

And really, it would be such a tragedy to have never enjoyed life because you spent all your time thinking about the future.


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182 thoughts on “Don’t Wait. Be Happy Now.

  1. Jennifer says:

    This NEEDS to get Freshly Pressed! It’s so true what you’re saying. Life is so freaking short. What’s so sad is that we worry and worry about our lives that it ends up killing us in the end, and then we have no more life to enjoy. Let’s enjoy today, TODAY. (: Love this post!

  2. Aja says:

    People are always so focused on careers and making money. I was always told things would be better when I got older and I always wondered why I had to wait until I got older. What was wrong with being happy now? I realize that while it might not financially stable I want to go out and do what I want and I’m going to. If you spend so much time focusing on becoming financially stable you’re going to let your entire life go by. People may say you have lots of time but that time is going to fly by if you keep putting happiness off. Great post!

  3. Michelle says:

    Hi Kayla, It is often called “shiny new object complex” or the “when I get there I will be happy syndrome”. Guess what? Once youv’e obtained the shiny new object of your desire than it will be replaced with another new shiny object that you will have to have. What usually happens is when you reach one goal another one appears from nowhere….you are chasing the proverbial end of the rainbow? Guess what??? Be grateful and try to be happy now and you will not need to chase rainbows. This is not to say don’t have goals or dreams but don’t think that happiness is unachievable until you reach that elusive goal… happy along the way. We put so much stress and pressure on ourselves when we play this game. When you go on a holiday do you say we can only start having fun when we get to the destination or do you try to enjoy the entire trip, even from the planning stages? You are right…be happy now, be yourself, love what you have and happiness will happen naturally.

  4. paddymcdougall says:

    Ferris Bueller:
    Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

    High five to Michelle for her comment. Shiny objects will only give a short term buzz.

  5. quetzalcotl says:

    This. is. my. favorite. blog post. EVER. You have no idea how badly I need to be reminded about this. Since I was a kid everyone told me that things will go my way once i get a job, but I thought, what if that never happens? What if I die tomorrow? What about those who died young, without even experiencing the stress of getting into college, or the reward of finishing college? I did listen to what other people said, and boy did I regret it. For the past few months I’ve been struggling through depression, and now I’m sorting things out. And one of the stuff I need sorted out is to show appreciation for the present.

  6. becca3416 says:

    Thanks for writing this post! I am currently working towards big changes instead of waiting, and it gave me some confidence in my decisions lately.

  7. rpgarilli says:

    Thanks so much for this post – it really helps put things in perspective. As a new grad who’ll be pursuing his MFA in the fall and who wants to be a writer, there’s a lot of planning ahead that people tell you needs to be done. And realistically, there will always be some planning ahead. But we get so lost in that and we lose sight of the fact that there is life happening RIGHT NOW that is leading to those plans. We can’t get there unless we live today, and preferably enjoy it, too.

    Definitely an inspiring read.

  8. smallivy says:

    Absolutely – great post. People look for happiness in the next thing but miss the happiness they could have in the present thing. I’ve had great times in grade school and high school. I worked my a** off in college but still had a great time going to clubs and just having a good time with friends playing cards on Saturday night. Now that I’ve got the house I enjoy gardening, having cookouts, and just hanging out in the backyard sometimes even though there is a lot of maintenance and work to keep it up. With kids I’ve enjoyed the enjoyable parts of each stage, from diapers to preteens, even though it’s required me to give up a lot of freedom. At work I enjoy doing the things I enjoy doing and try not to spend too much time on the things I don’t.

    I’ve seen a lot of people really unhappy spending a lot of money. I was at Burlington Coat Factory the other night, standing in line, and everyone looks absolutely miserable. I said, rather loudly to my wife, “Is anyone happy in here?” A girl walking nearby smiled and said she noticed the same thing.

  9. Cassy says:

    Great topic! =D I can’t believe how much people wish their lives away… I know I was definitely doing that… and I wasn’t even making changes for a better future… so I don’t why I was expecting some sort of miracle to happen…

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  11. thecareermisfit22 says:

    This is great, Kayla. You are absolutely right. Learning to live in and appreciate what you have right here and right now can be challenging. But it’s so important because, next thing you know, you’re in your mid-40s and wondering where your life went. On the other hand, I know from experience that life gives us multiple chances to learn this lesson. It’s a kind of grace that life offers all of us, and I’m very thankful for it!! Thanks for your insightful reminder.

  12. Kate Swaffer says:

    Lovely piece of writing, and fits perfectly with my view of life too. You might like this poem I wrote published in my first book of poems as listed here

    Adult’s world

    The adult world
    Filled with assurances
    Which promise so mch
    And deliver so little

    Once you get to adulthodd, as you say, it is up to you to get on with your life, work on your own dreams, and make your own happiness. I often say, ‘we live until we die’, so make sure you learn to live as well as you can. Take care.

  13. Kate Swaffer says:

    Beautifully written blog, with thought and insight beyond your years. You might like this poem I published in my first book of poetry this year.

    Adult’s world

    The adult world
    Filled with assurances
    Which promise so much
    And deliver so little

    I have a saying ‘You live until you die’, and so we had better get on and live as well as we can, creating our own happiness and lust for life. Take care.

  14. Just another visitor says:

    Wow… you really are older and wiser than your years, kudos to you for this post it was exactly what I needed to read today – obviously a lot of people feel that way too!

    I am a generation X, and have been through a lot of the things in your list, though by no means all. I have always considered myself pretty happy in life, and tried to live by that very same ethos you suggest. And it worked, pretty much until a couple of few years ago. Then I started believing promises that the stress of the job and starting a new business would be worth it in the future, while I put off the things that truly made me happy and left them by the wayside. A few years in I am no nearer that elusive happiness, am actually unhappy now, and its putting a lot of stress on my relationship! I have a lot of thinking to do.

    So to anyone reading this, life is too short not to do what makes you happy. This post is great advice, advice which I forgot for a while.

  15. Adrian Pantonial says:

    I like this line so much: “Happiness doesn’t depend upon your next accomplishment. Because if you’re awesome, you’re always going to have another success ahead of you, another milestone to reach.”

    I agree with you. 🙂

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  17. Caryn says:

    I love this. I completely agree. I think we make our own happiness and people get too caught up in the future and forget to be happy in the now. It is now, the present, that change happens, not tomorrow. We’re always chasing the future. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

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  19. dreamzunlimited says:

    Keyla…Awesome post…I completely believe in being happy NOW…But for me it is a state of mind which keeps on changing and I have to drag myself back to being happy state…Still keeping myself happy…:)

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  22. Hunt FOR Truth says:

    When we get in front of ourselves and trip — that’s not nice… when we focus and love what is happening now — that is nice.
    There is a generation Y now? I have the answer — now is all we really have so Y is good then because Y and when are the same place — head and my feet in the now and ready for whatever is best now.
    ~ Eric

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