Can I just be happy where I am?
I doubt there’s one of us who doesn’t clock-watch from time to time. I hear it in the locker room at work: “four more hours” or “two more days until Friday.” And then “It’s Friday!” as if it were the second coming.
So Friday comes, and I wait to get off work. And then I have the long-awaited weekend… and it doesn’t deliver. I think I’ll be happy and relax, but I can’t. I have too much to do, or worse, I’m bored.
Just before Christmas, when months of work without much time off had piled up, I held out Christmas shutdown–twelve glorious days of holidays–out in front of me like the proverbial carrot. I’d rest then, I’d write then, I’d have fun then.
And my holidays were good… but they weren’t great. I wanted to write, but I just spun my tires. I anticipated the Christmas gatherings, only to not enjoy them all that much.
What the heck?
The future just won’t deliver. I say “I’ll be happier when…” or “I’ll be able to afford this when…” and that day eludes me. Will I ever reach a spot where I say “Yes. This is good?”
It reminds me of the Teacher in Ecclesiastes, the ancient wisdom book, who says “Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless.” And that’s pretty dang depressing
The Apostle Paul said he knew how to be content in all circumstances–and he wasn’t speaking of work or home, holiday or workweek, but starving and feasting, freedom or imprisonment, abuse, ridicule, or acclaim. He could be content, though Christ who strengthened him.
So I believe it’s possible to be happy–whether I am scrubbing out a coating pan at work, washing the dishes, preparing for another shift at the clothing store, or doing things I love like writing, reading and drinking coffee (all at once, perhaps).
The only question is, how? I wrote this over the course of a work day, and there were a few guesses I came up with.
1. Give Happy
Chris Brady said “to be happy, you got to give happy.” If I think about what made me happy this week, it wasn’t my evening off, two disks of Criminal Minds, or a sleep-in (which I didn’t get). It was lounging on the grass, talking and praying with my friends, laughing with coworkers and making a coffee frappe for my aunt. So maybe I should take my eyes off myself.
2. Know Where You’re Going
Easier said than done, I know, but some of my best times have been those moments ‘in the zone,’ chasing hard after a goal.
3. A Cheerful Attitude
Sometimes all you can change is your attitude. There doesn’t need to be any of this ‘if only it were Friday,’ whining. It isn’t Friday, okay?
Well, it may be by the time you read this.
But I can’t change what day it is. So I may as well enjoy what I can about it.
Truth is, Paul’s state of contentment feels about as distant as some mystical nirvana. But I’m sure of one thing: constantly chasing after happiness like it’s around the next bend isn’t working for me. Happiness ain’t on Friday.