Yes, I was hooked at a young age and I have been looking for the fix ever since.
How could addiction be possible at that age? Well, it was easy. It was all around me...every day. It was everywhere. It was in my house, it was at my school, it was at every friend’s house, it was inside every team or group of people that I have ever associated with.
Where were my parents? Well to be honest they were right there...feeding it to me. It’s not their fault though. They were just doing what they were taught....what everyone else was doing. They did what they thought was best. Like most drugs, once I was addicted, once it was a key part of my life, it was then me who passed it on to my kids. Not because I am a bad person, not because I meant them harm, but only because it was, and still is, "normal". It is what was done, it's what is still done now. It is ingrained in our society.
So what is this addiction that I refer to?
"Destination Addiction" Maybe better known as: “I’ll Be Happy When”
When I was 3...I couldn’t wait to be 4.
When I was in Kindergarten, I couldn’t wait to be in grade 1.
In grade 1, I couldn’t wait to be in grade 2...
Every year, I couldn’t wait for my birthday...for Christmas morning...for holidays....
When I was in school, I was looking forward to summer. Then when summer came I was looking forward to being back in school.
In grade 10, I was so excited at the prospect of graduating high school and getting out in the world....of getting a hot car...of finding a girl.....of having sex.....of getting a job.....making money...
Then my thoughts were dominated by what might happen when I did graduate and become independent. Yes, that would be amazing...and yet then when it happened... it wasn’t.....my thoughts were ahead of me again.
I would be happy when I could get my own place....buy some furniture; maybe get a motorcycle...that would be fun! (It wasn’t actually...I sold it after 3 weeks because I was pretty sure I was going to kill myself riding that thing) Maybe I needed to find a partner, someone to share my life with. That would make me happy! I guess I had to find that person.
Maybe I would be happy when I moved across the country to get yet a better job. I accomplished that, but it didn’t seem to be enough. Okay, time to get married...and to settle down.. and make more money to buy all the stuff that I was told would make me happy. Maybe happiness could be found with that new fangled VCR for watching movies, or a space age microwave that would cook my food so easily and make my life happy (well the microwave was amazing!) Maybe happiness could be found with a better stereo system for better and louder music, and that brand of beer that would make everything more fun. Sure I had to spend money, but it was so obvious that if I wanted to be happy, I would need to work harder and smarter in order to get all the stuff that would get me there! I just needed a better job where I could make more money! So I went and did that.
So now it was time to buy a house and start a family........yes....then I would be happy. (Hmm...I am sensing a theme here).
Surely I would be happy when.....
The kids got older and could take care of themselves
When the commissions started coming in on the next new job
When I got a new vehicle
When the house got paid off
When the kids graduated high school
But “happy” still wasn’t there...
Maybe I would be happy when we split up...
When I was finally settled in with my new relationship
When my new partner and I could get things paid off and look forward to retirement...
When I could rebuild my life after being struck by lightning.
When I could function in public again.
When I could start dating again.
When I might be able to find someone to share my life with.
When my daughters would finally see me for who I really am and not through the lens of the past.
When I could rebuild my confidence and self esteem.
Just where was this happiness thing? Why couldn’t I find it?
Sure, I helped raise 2 beautiful girls who are healthy and educated...but what did I really teach them? Did I really just give them the same drug that I was given? The one we all are given.
Want stuff. Go to work. Buy stuff. Realize that happiness wasn’t achieved. Acquire debt to buy more stuff. Work harder to pay off debt. Put off happiness until stuff is paid for...which is never, because we are told constantly that we have to buy more stuff in order to be "happy"!
Am I living my life just to get to the end? To just pay bills and then die? Does my entire life really revolve around working endlessly so that I can pay off the stuff that I have to buy because I am told that if I have that stuff then I will be happy?
You know what? I think it’s time for a change. It’s time for me to help my daughters understand that being happy is not out there. It’s right here between my ears. Between their ears. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that although money can’t buy actual happiness, that it can buy a certain level of comfort, entertainment and stability that makes finding happiness much easier, and I want that too. What I am talking about is how true happiness has nothing to do with “stuff”. It has nothing to do with image. Happiness revolves around living life authentically and being content with who I am, what I want and where I am going. Happiness is living in such a way that I can be myself and that the people who surround me will have me feeling comfortable and at peace with the world. I must take the time to actually think about what makes me happy and of understanding how to live my life doing those things and living that way.
No matter what my real intentions are, for some, my intentions will be misinterpreted.
No matter how hard I try, for some, I should have tried harder.
No matter how much I achieve, for some it will never be enough.
I must also stop living my life trying to “make” other people happy. Why? Well, mostly because it just isn't possible. I can't force someone to like me, I can't compel someone to see things my way, I can't influence someone in an effort to gain real respect, and I certainly can't "make" someone else happy. Yes, I can do things or say things that I know that they like, but happiness is an inside job. Their happiness is up to them. I stand a much better chance by just being me and making sure that I am happy, because that is when they stand the best chance of seeing the real me and appreciating who I am. I must be authentic. I can't "try" to be authentic, because I now realize that the moment I "try" to be authentic....then I am not. (Think about that one!) Sure, it's possible that they may not like me, but that is their choice. What is far worse is the hypocrisy of me putting myself through constant turmoil trying to get someone to see the real me...and trying to do that by not being myself.
For me to be happy, I need to feel loved, appreciated and respected for who I am. That will never happen if I am constantly putting forward someone that is not really me, in an effort to make someone else happy.
I now understand that if I am going to buy flowers for her, it is important that I am buying them because it makes me feel good to give them to her, not because I have an expectation of her to be happy with me for taking the time and effort to do so. I cannot determine my happiness based on her reaction, or I will constantly be chasing something that simply can never be achieved. I can’t control her actual happiness. That is for her to determine. My goal in life moving forward is to simply be me, and if put my effort there, and stop worrying about “pleasing” others, the right person will come along and see the real me...and appreciate who I am, just as I am looking for someone who thinks the same way to share my life with.
I am battling my addiction. So when will I be happy?
I think right now is a good time to start.
How about you?