One of the comments I hear most from my close friends is how I’ve managed to achieve balance in my life, which makes me roll my eyes and laugh because, and I'm going to let you in on a little secret here...
I DON'T ACTUALLY HAVE BALANCE IN MY LIFE AT ALL.
I’ve even written a few articles on how to find balance and you know what? I want to apologize to you because I now think balance is bullshit.
I don’t think we’re ever meant to find balance. Most days I feel more like I’m riding a unicycle while juggling flaming batons and that at any given moment I’m about to hit a massive pothole in the road of life and it's going to send me flying through the air to land smack dab on my face. And then I’ll somehow have to fit a dentist appointment into my already busy schedule.
Nope; balance is bulls*it. And in fact when we say we’re trying to find balance that’s not even what it is we’re really looking for.
What we’re really looking for is happiness.
We think if we find balance we’ll find happiness, but we’ve been looking at the equation all wrong. We need to look for happiness first.
And that, my friends, is something I’ve managed to find. Also, I’m not going to tell you some crap about how you have to make time for yourself - because with age comes a little bit of wisdom and unlike my younger self, I now realize there are women out there working three jobs while raising kids on their own and they actually DON’T have time to make time for themselves and if they did have that time, they are so exhausted they would probably use it trying to catch up on the 3,247 hours of sleep they’ve lost.
In no particular order, here are some DOABLE things that have helped me find happiness in my life and maybe they'll help you too:
Recently a co-worker asked me "what was next," as in what was the next big thing I wanted to do. My response was simple….nothing. Right now I have a good job that allows me to be creative but doesn’t suck up my entire life. I’m able to work, hang out with my family, and still have time to do the things I love to do, so why would I want to screw that up?
That’s not to say you can’t strive for more. There ain’t nothing wrong with wanting more. But don't spend your life chasing the "what's next" if your heart really isn't into it or because you think that "what next" is finally going to make you happy or because it's what everyone else is doing.
Repeat after me: There's nothing wrong with being happy with where you're at and staying there for awhile to enjoy it.
That’s a very valid question which brings me to my next point.
I don’t enjoy every aspect of my job, in fact there are a few parts of my job I actually hate. So I don’t focus on those things. I do them, get them done, then put my energy towards the parts of my job that I really enjoy.
This can be applied to every aspect of your life. You’re never going to love everything and quite frankly that’s a completely unrealistic expectation. Find enjoyment in the little things in life. I have one girlfriend who loves to vacuum because seeing the vacuum lines in the carpet when she’s finished gives her a sense of satisfaction. I love to read so I make time to read every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes….locked in the bathroom. What brings you happiness is going to be as unique as you.
Which brings me to the next point.
Before you can enjoy the little things and be happy you need to know what the little things are that you enjoy. As you go about your daily routine, try to be in the moment so you can understand and be aware of those little things. I kid you not when I say after our dishwasher broke down, I discovered I actually like washing dishes by hand. I'm a simple kind of gal, what can I say?
That’s the wonderful thing about happiness. You never know where you’re going to find it.
Every year we buy a ticket for a local hospital lottery, and every year my kids and I go visit the house we could win, and every year my kids ask if we would move into the house if we won it, and every year my answer is the same.
A bigger house just means more for me to clean which would undoubtedly make me less happy unless I paid my friend who likes to vacuum to come in and clean but that would mean I would have less money for wine. See where I’m going with this?
So many times we want the newest device, the better car, the bigger house, nicer clothes….the stuff. But stuff doesn’t make us happy. Unfortunately, Apple has figured this out while a large portion of the population hasn’t which is why they have line ups out the door whenever their newest greatest and latest device is released.
As Sheryl Crowe said.... "It's not having what you want, it's wanting what you've got."
Listen, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting something better so long as you’re not expecting that new thing to make you happy.
It’s hard to be happy when you’re jealous that The Joneses have greener grass. I get it…it’s sometimes difficult when you see other people getting what you want, or what you think you want, or hell, you don’t even want it at all, you just didn’t want them to have it either.
Been there, done that.
Here’s the cool thing…when you start being genuinely happy for other people, you leave more room inside yourself to be happy, and when you’re happy it makes it easier to be happy for other people. See how that works?
This more than anything has been the key to my happiness. My house is clean but never pristine. I cook great meals some days, and other days we have cereal for dinner. I’m on time most of the time, other days I’m the wild-eyed woman racing my kids to their activities without a moment to spare.
None of this stresses me out because I’ve come to embrace mediocrity and it’s given me a sense of freedom to be released from the expectations I always had for myself.
Nobody is ever going to be happy 100% of the time. You will have days when you’re sad, moments of anger, times when you’re doubtful of the path you are on, hours, days and even weeks when it feels like your other feelings outweigh your happiness 80/20. But happiness is measured over a lifetime and if you can find it in yourself to chase happiness instead of balance you’ll hopefully look back over time and realize that ultimately, your happiness and the happiness of those you love outweighed everything else.
RELATED: Does Happiness Improve Your Health?