If you haven’t read:
http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/09/why-generation-y-yuppies-are-unhappy.html Then do, it sums things up (for a particular cohort of people) far better than I do here.
I wanted to write this when I realised that every time I achieved a goal or milestone, I instantly looked to the next one and would be ‘unhappy’ until that one was achieved. Except once it was, I would feel unhappy because now there was a new ‘thing’ missing in my life.
When I was single, I wanted to be in a relationship, when I was in a relationship I looked forward to the day I was married, when I was married I wanted all our problems to be sorted out and have the perfect relationship.
When I started in my career I was a demonstrator, I dreamed about the day I could support myself with paying gigs, when that day came I decided that what I wanted was to be doing work for celebs, when I began to do that, I then wanted to do corporate gigs (better paid), that happened, and I wanted to do trade shows, then more international work, then more stage performances, etc etc etc.
When we were renting I dreamed about owning a house, when we bought one (a massive project), what I really wanted was for it to be fully renovated. When it was finished, what I really wanted was a new kitchen, once that was done, a loft extension. Now we have that, I find myself lusting for a super ground floor extension with a mammoth open plan kitchen-diner-living room.
Discontent is a powerful lever for change, it helps us to achieve more things in our life than we would otherwise. I certainly don’t want to be where I was 10 years ago. With hindsight, the problem was (and maybe still is?) that I was emotionally in a state of flux, never able to fully settle and enjoy any achievements, and basically constantly yearning for the ‘next thing’. It is an illusory existence wherein you think ‘true happiness’ is just around the corner, although it never is, because there is always a new corner.
I am trying to shift my thinking towards realising that ‘things’ will make my life better not necessarily make me happy. Because it was actually my expectations of what would make me happy that caused unhappiness, not reality. The list of what actually makes me happy, reads like a cheesy country song, so I’ll just point out that they revolve around experience, sharing, relationship, nature and other ‘non-thing’ related stuff.
It is fine, normal and useful to have goals and want change. But in my experience, if you think they will make you happy, you won’t be.