Amanda is a spindly little eighty-eight year old gal dying from COPD. Between quick breaths she puffed with finality, “I will be happy when I’m dead.” Her whole life she has been postponing happiness until something happened. She confessed she was never really happy, she was always waiting to be happy or “doing something” before she could be happy. Now there is nothing left to do but die, and she will be happy when that something happens.
I’ve recently completed an informal happiness survey. People generally will be happy only when something happens, like: “When I graduate from high school, when I get accepted into my top pick college, when I find my true love, when I get married, when I have a baby, when my baby finally gets through teething, when my baby is old enough for day care so I can get back to work, when I can loose these twenty pounds, when I get that dream job, or save enough money, or go to Hawaii. I will be happy when my teenager moves out of the house, when my husband gets his act together, when I pay off the mortgage, when the divorce is final, when I have enough time for myself so I can take a class, travel, or read those books that have been piling up on my nightstand. I will be happy when I can retire, when I find out that my blood work and MRI show no evidence of disease. I will be happy when I get the knee replacement so I can walk my daughter down the isle. I’ll be happy when I die.”
Happy milestones happen, but do they provide you lasting happiness with a capital H? Are you postponing happiness until something happens?
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