I didn’t find happiness. That’s the honest truth. I opened my eyes one morning in a hotel bed in Calgary, having worked another 16 hour day, and I realized as I stumbled over to my computer for a 6 am conference call, I was happy. It was that simple. I had stumbled into the land of happy. I didn’t find it – I kept my head down and I plugged away. I wasn’t even necessarily looking for it. Suddenly, one morning, I was there.
Feb 2, 2011
When I wrote about the white board of my life a few weeks ago, I talked about how I worked on my vacation. Just a few hours every day, but I worked. No one really said much, and I was glad.
It’s awkward. I like my job. I like it a lot. I find it to be challenging and rewarding and I find a great sense of purpose in it. That’s not quite the struggle.
I tell someone that I find purpose in my work, and a sure as little green apples, the lectures start. (Admit it, at least some of you were about to tell me that it’s just a job). It’s not the work itself. It’s not the pay cheque.
It has taken me a long time and the terrible memories of how my last job ended to realize this. It’s not the work – it’s what I get out of it – it’s the chance to contribute, to feel worthwhile and needed and appreciated.
It’s all of those things that create the drive, feed the drive and sustain the drive. When I left the last job, I had a “whatever” frame of mind. I wasn’t the only one with the frame of mind, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it still bothered me.
I understood and understand what made me feel that way. I still don’t like that it happened. I feel like I failed. I feel like I went from being active and engaged – needed and appreciated – to not.
I still don’t understand. Maybe I never will. But, with the not understanding and the sudden change, I feel like I failed.
All of my life I have tried to keep my emotions constant. To not change my feelings or my mood based on which way the wind was blowing. I went from being happy to being sad, for no good reason. Or, rather for all of the good reasons in the world, except I could do nothing to make myself feel happy.
Happiness, I am realizing, is illusory. It’s transitory and it’s situational. Maybe it isn’t reasonable to always be happy – in spite of the circumstances. Maybe feelings of sadness and frustration are the normal and natural response to when circumstances go bad?
And maybe I didn’t fail, at least not so completely. I realized, in probably about February, I needed to find another job. I started looking. In fits and spurts, but I started looking. I found a job about 4 months later. Maybe success isn’t in always feeling happy, but in finding a way out when you are unhappy.
I am happy again. I am loving the new job. I will leave, shortly for a very long week in Calgary, seeing the last of the project through. I will be there at go live, and that seems right and fitting. There is happiness in that.
I think, I think I have learned this. We don’t really find happiness. We find circumstances that allow for happiness, that leverage the things that are apt to make us happy, and then we wait, while happiness finds us.