What makes us happy

April 18, 2021

At one point in my life, I got stuck.

I didn't know what I wanted for life at all. What I wake up for every day. What makes me happy.

Every day felt exactly the same. I had my routines, my predefined structure, and I followed it. No exceptions.

I did this for years. Trying to figure out what I want. Sometimes thinking I found it, sometimes feeling it slipping away from my reach.

I tried coming up with goals I want to reach in my life. Things to accomplish.

I wasn't afraid to dream big.

Mostly dreaming my way through life, thinking about what I would want if I could do anything. But at the same time telling myself that it won't ever happen.

I got stuck.

Goals existed, but almost all of them were out of reach. Things I dreamed about that won't come true anyways.

That was my approach to happiness. Dreams.

It was hard for me to translate them into reachable goals, into actions.

For a long time I wandered through life just doing what I've been doing, what people would expect of me.

Not thinking about myself. Not thinking about what I truly wanted.

Because I didn't know. I didn't allow myself to.

Those dreams were there, but they were just dreams for me.

They always felt out of reach, always something that could never come true.

But at the same time most of them were not that big. Most of them described simple things on how I want to live my life.

Still, I kept pushing them to a dream cloud far away.

And there I was. Feeling stuck in life. Clinging to my routines because it was all I had.

An approach that changed it for me was to identify what makes me happy.

To sit down and think about moments I felt joy. Moments today, moments a months ago, moments of my childhood.

Without judging them I just wrote down what came to mind.

Today, I keep this list up to date somewhere where I can easily find it. Look at it if I feel stuck.

Going about it without assumptions, looking back at the simple things that made me happy when I was a child helped me reveal what it truly is that makes me happy.

I realized that I always loved to read, to write stories, to learn new things and to spend time with people I love. To go on adventures and see something new. To sometimes break the rules and get that adrenaline kick. To help others.

But I also love simple things like sunsets, the ocean and deep forests. I love to feel the sun on my skin and the wind in my hair when I'm outside. I love to go for a walk.

Sometimes it's small things that contribute a great part to our happiness.

Sometimes we have to take a step back and look at it in a way a child would.

If there's one thing I learned along the way it's that happiness doesn't necessarily come from knowing the end goal.

It comes from doing what truly makes our hearts light up.

Even if it's the smallest things like watching the sun change the sky's color as it sets.

When we just look close enough we can see that there are many things that make us happy.

And those are the things that give us a life purpose.

A reason to get up every day.

There doesn't need to be an end goal.

Sometimes our life purpose is to be happy.

ジャーニー (Jānī) is Japanese for journey.