How can we find happiness?

Lately, I have been more thoughtful again. It has probably to do with the fact that my employment contract is expiring in two months and I have to figure out what I want to do with my life afterwards. The problem is that I just don’t know what kind of work would make me happy. And there it is – happy. What is happiness? And what does it mean to me?

What is happiness?

When I think about my life and the future, I just want to be happy. I want to be satisfied with what I’m doing and what I have done. But do I want a successful career? No. I don’t want to work 40 hours each week or even more. Instead, I want a job that I enjoy and one that makes me want to go to work instead of waking up on Monday and immediately start counting the days until the weekend. However, like many others, I am stuck with the thought that I need a typical 9 to 5 (or even 8 to 5) office job. We don’t really know the alternatives or are too afraid to pursue them. Why? Because it is implemented into our brains from an early childhood on.

What do you want to do for a living when you’re a grown-up?

Most of the people of our society have the same path laid ahead of them. We go to school and then we have to know what kind of job we want to do for the rest of our lives. After finishing school some go abroad for a certain amount of time. But unfortunately, I am afraid many only do so because it is required for the CV to have been abroad. Then you go to university, get a bachelor degree, sometimes even a master degree, and then you work very hard to accumulate as much money as possible to go and travel, relax and enjoy life when you’re old. Shouldn’t we enjoy life while we’re young and healthy?

The problem

If I had told my parents that I wanted to travel for an indefinite period of time, they would have asked me if I didn’t want to do something sensible with my time. And my parents are quite tolerant with that kind of stuff and don’t want me to have a great career. Instead, they just want me to have a safe life without worries.

The general problem is in my opinion that our society is based on consumerism. We want to show people what we have achieved. We want to share our happiness and how great our life is. And happiness is based on wealth.

Look how big and spacious our new flat is!
Look our new fast car!
Look, I can afford pricy designer shoes!
Look, I am on holidays yet AGAIN!

Did you really do it if you didn’t share it?

When was the last time you did something great and didn’t share it on Instagram or another social media platform? Sometimes I get the feeling that everything that we do is only to get the perfect shot to post on Instagram and to share our amazing lifestyle. We look only for “instagramble” spots and then want to travel to get that same shot to post on our feed. Everything is just a way of consuming and showing of. Even travelling, which has become the new lifestyle of my generation, is in my opinion just a new way of consuming. It has become the ideal lifestyle of breaking out of the business world and a symbol of happiness. But is it? Why are we searching happiness in the distance?

It feels to me as if it is more about the amount of countries you’ve been to than about the experience itself. They say “I have been to 50 countries”, but it doesn’t really matter if they have been there for only two weeks or even less. Maybe you can see a lot in two weeks but you don’t really experience a country. Especially when it has a completely different culture. Has travelling become the new way to show off how much you earn and that you can afford to go on vacation a lot? Why do we have to count the countries that we’ve been to and tell everyone about it? Does that make us happy?

Currently I am questioning this whole lifestyle. I deleted Instagram for the time of our trip in Indonesia, because I didn’t want to post anything at that time and just enjoy this beautiful country. However, it was shocking to see all the wannabe-influencers posing for the perfect shot and seeing the process and effort behind the perfect shot. How fake it all is. For what? Likes? Followers? Becoming an influencer?

The conclusion?

To be honest, I don’t really know how I feel about all of this. So far, I haven’t posted any photo of Indonesia on Instagram. But I feel the urge to do so and I don’t really know why. Probably to show everyone that I have been to Indonesia and travelled and had a great time. But does that make me happy? I don’t know.

Maybe, I just want to start a conversation and make others think about and question this lifestyle. What do you think about all this? What does happiness mean to you?


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