November 11, 2012

I’ll Be Happy when (Insert Future Life Event Here). ~ Tanya Mah

Łukasz Strachanowski

Far too often, our happiness depends on what we do not have or have not achieved.

I’ll be happy when I lose weight, change jobs, travel, buy more, when it’s summer, when I move into a new house, when I buy that new car, when I…

You get the idea.

We spend so much time thinking about the things we don’t have, or the things we feel are missing from our lives, we forget about the great stuff staring us straight in the face.

I often think about my future goals. They’re often lofty ideals, set in my hopefully no-too-distant future, when I’m fitter, cashed up and living my ideal life, before gallivanting off into the sunset.

Fuck that.

For years, I looked to my environment, my world and the people in it to make me happy. I was constantly looking out there for something tangible to give me happiness or a sense of satisfaction.

Photo: Scarabuss

Happiness is such an elusive and seductive beast, because once you achieve your goals and your dreams, you’re still stuck waiting for that feeling of satisfaction—and it often doesn’t come, or it’s a fleeting moment of feeling good.

It’s so frustrating when you have absolutely everything except fulfillment. We spend so much time working toward our goals, fixating on the things we don’t have, working on solutions, looking for a sense of wholeness or satisfaction, we forget to look in the one place happiness truly resides—quite simply, within ourselves.

Nothing out there will ever give you happiness, joy or fulfillment. No person, no situation, no job—nada. It’s up to you to take responsibility for your own joy and fulfillment. It’s nobody else’s job to make you happy. If you think it is, you’re a parasite.

That responsibility is exclusively yours and you need to take full ownership of it.

I love the concept of constructive discontent. It’s the idea that, as human beings, we are constantly seeking evolution or growth. The feeling of discontent or restlessness is a motivating factor which causes us to set new goals, to strive for something more and to do something more with our lives.

If  you weren’t afflicted with constructive discontent, you would have no motivation to do anything more with your life. You wouldn’t be setting new goals, dreaming of a loftier future or manifesting new worlds. None of it. You would be happy to just coast along and not achieve very much.

I think the sweet spot lies somewhere between showing up and being responsible for your own happiness in the now, and striving for more in the future. It feels like such a fine line, and such a delicate dance, between both present and future realities.

Maybe we could replace all the I’ll be happy whens in our lives with, I’m doing well, I’m happy with this right now and I’m looking forward to creating something new and juicer in the future.


Tanya Maria Mah is a designer, an occasional seeker of all things true, a yogi, a hippie (not a hipster), a teeny-tiny disco dancer, a sometimes-cook and an eternal optimist. She can be creative, is frequently inappropriate and aspires for inspiration. When asked for a bio she Facebook polled her friends for one word that describes her and they came up with the following: loves hearts, crazy (this was mentioned a few times!), sunshine, bubbly, meatball, mcskank  (personal joke), excitable, spunky monkey, delicious, pixie and charismatically crazy (a new spin on an old favorite!) To get in touch, please email [email protected].


Editor: Jennifer Spesia

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