When I look back to the time periods I’ve felt happiest, I’d say they are times when I am in intense pursuit of some goal—knowledge, skill, project, service, mission, etc. Before somebody lectures me about happiness vs. joy, I want to say that I am not talking about joy. I’m talking about happiness–excitement, exhilaration, smile-on-my-face happy.
These are the moments I’ve felt most alive, as if every cell in my body aligns to the same direction. There’s a reason to stay up late and wake up early, and everything else I do is more efficient so I can free up time for the pursuit.
Part of the fun is brainstorming with like-minded people, when one idea feeds another in a chain reaction, exploding to… something awesome. Or not. The ideas may totally tank. Regardless, the process is fun.
A pursuit has the ability to orient an entire life to a certain directionality. Everything counts; every moment is infused with a purpose. I can’t think of any better way to live.
It would be a sad day when one finds nothing else to pursue. It’s like being on top of the highest mountain and finding there is no other peak to climb. While the satisfaction may last a while, boredom will surface from a long-term state of sameness. And boredom is the opposite of happiness.
I’ve definitely experienced this unhappiness. The thought of resting and settling down a bit after a phase/pursuit ends is nice, but detrimental if prolonged. I’m not sure I can live without some kind of overarching pursuit.
The good thing is that there’s always something to pursue. Life is too big and too vast to run out of goals.
I’m writing this to remind myself to always live and strive for something—something good, something better.
What have you been doing pursuing lately?
P.S. This will be my next light read: The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life.