So, I’ve finally reached the notorious crisis-inducing quarter century milestone. I was quietly bracing myself for the impending meltdown – the annual unjustified resurgence of obscure emotions to mark the transition of age. But, for a quarter century inspired spin, this tragic tradition has since been broken and replaced with what I can only describe as a monumental epiphany and borderline cliche, not that I’m complaining!
THE POT OF GOLD
There’s the illusion of guaranteed contentment waiting on the other side of our desires and our goals. We’ll be happy when we land that promotion or receive a pay rise or get married or buy that beautiful house. It’s a mythical concept – one we’ve subconsciously created to warrant our current state of dissatisfaction which in all honesty, we’ve imposed on ourselves. It took me a while to figure that out. What we often forget is that we’ve already acquired a pot of gold in some shape or form. It will vary from one person to another, but we’ve all got something to be grateful for – we’re just blatantly ignoring or neglecting its existence.
I’m willing to bet that the large majority of the human population are guilty of swimming in an icy pool of discontent – existing under the glass half empty mode and prioritising attention on life’s imperfections while arrogantly dismissing anything remotely awesome as standard, expected and whatever. So often, we allow our happiness to combust as soon as we experience a minor setback. Pessimism seems to prevail. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve attended these parties. Hell, I’ve even hosted them too, but not anymore.
THE BIRTHDAY EPIPHANY
I’ve waited a hella long time to reach this degree of contentment and enter a permanent cycle of positivity. I’ve certainly vacayed at the contentment resort, but the enjoyment was generally short-lived due to the predictable and bitter intrusion of ingratitude, amongst other emotionally damaging habits, like the comparison trap.
For the first time in my life, I feel empowered and excited about what the future holds – I know what I want and I’m on track to achieving it. I’m proud of how far I’ve come – conquering my demons, breaking out of the darkness and going one step further to publicly announce it. For the first time in my life, I’m not relying exclusively on the faith that my parents, my partner and my friends have instilled in me for so long. Having learnt how to manufacture it internally, I’m able to make regular deposits into the motivation bank and channel my energy towards the future I crave. I’m radiating optimism and beaming with gratitude. I’m happy. And as someone who’s battled mental illness in the past and believed that happiness was nothing but a fleeting encounter, this transition is profoundly liberating beyond measure.
THE PERSPECTIVE SWITCH
Finding contentment begins with your mindset. Making a conscious effort to reprogram your natural reaction to a set of circumstances is not an easy feat by any means. First, you need to recognise when therapeutic venting or general conversation advances into a my life sucks and there’s nothing good about it fest. Nobody enjoys being in the vicinity of someone unloading a putrid barrel of complaints, most of which stem from the first world category. I’m all for therapy, but you need to be aware of the line. Secondly, you need to possess a burning desire to flip the page and start a new chapter. Don’t you want to end the pity party? I’m not saying that once you flip the perspective switch, you won’t slide back into old habits, we’re not robotic creatures. However, reactivating the positive wheel and shifting your focus to how far you’ve come (instead of how far you’ve fallen) or perceiving a situation as a blessing in disguise (instead of the end of your life), won’t feel as foreign to you. Once you’re actively living and breathing the gratitude attitude and glass half full philosophy, you’ll find it easier to exterminate the toxic habits you previously endorsed and brush away the accidental cloud of negativity that appears on the odd occasion.