Happiness and Why I’m No Longer Looking For It

Recently, I’ve been experiencing what I have coined as ‘postgraduate blues‘. The ennui associated with unemployment was always something I knew might hit me after University, but now that it’s finally here, I have truly come to appreciate how difficult, draining and depressing job-searching can be. ‘You need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience.‘ These are words often uttered in classrooms and lecture halls, but now, they have taken on a new significance in my life. Who knew that the jokes in my previous post could be so accurate? I may not need thirty qualifications, but there has been a suspicious amount of graduate schemes (yes, ugh, I’ve started to venture into those too) where you need to have been employed in the field before to be even allowed to apply… Why bother calling them graduate schemes, then? More like ‘graduate(d two years ago and want another way in) schemes’!

Before I proceed, I must admit that I haven’t done nearly enough job-hunting as someone is probably supposed to have done after graduating… it’s August and everyone keeps telling me I am still ‘technically on summer holidays’, so sue me! Still, after a week of productivity, followed by a minefield of rejections, I felt more than a little unsteady. It was like someone had handed me a concoction of low self-esteem and lethargy to drink all in one – and how I relished the taste! I was cold out, disinterested in the world and all I could do was complain about how unfair life was and how unhappy I was.

I know, ew.

Luckily, the pity-party stopped a few days ago and I am now back on track. How did I achieve this, you may ask? By realising that I just need to be a god-damn adult and stop sulking? No, don’t be silly! Rather, after some intense over-thinking about why I’ve never been really happy in my life, I realised that actually, it’s because of the very thing I’ve been searching for – happiness.

When I was younger, I used to think it was a really profound thing to say that all I wanted was to be happy in life. Now, however, I realise how unrealistic and dangerous such a notion can be. It implies that happiness can be a permanent state achieved, when in fact, it cannot. Sure, maybe an individual can be an optimist all their life, but can anyone be constantly happy when circumstances fluctuate so much? Is it possible to identify true happiness without going through real suffering? Would ‘happiness’ really feel all that great if it was something we could experience every second of every day?

I doubt it.

So with that unfeasible goal out of the way, a huge burden has been lifted. Now, when I wake up in the morning, I don’t worry about whether I’ll be happy or unhappy throughout the day because ultimately, emotions are hard to control (outwardly, perhaps not, but inwardly, hell yes). What I do now think about are my values. How can I be helpful today? Kind? Organised and productive? With that in mind, I have accomplished a lot more than I ever did when I agonised over what I needed to do to stay happy. I’ve got a lot more done around the house. I’ve had more wonderful and thought-provoking conversations with my friends. I’ve even put my crippling thoughts of rejections to one side and started to apply for jobs again! Yay!

And ironically enough, as it often is with the twists and turns of fate, I’ve felt a lot better and ‘happier’ for it…

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