For a long time, I never really thought where I lived was exciting enough to call “home”. I always wanted to travel, to explore, to have adventures, and to feel fulfilled by my surroundings. I wholeheartedly believe some people are better-suited to some places over others; some people don’t want to drive an hour or two every day to get to their friends. Some others don’t want to live somewhere without city noises at night. Personal preferences dictate lifestyles, and lifestyles can predicate where someone truly belongs.
I’m someone who has lived in various places, which seems like a feat to some people. I always thought it was more “normal” to have lived in different places than maybe it actually is. But for me, personally, life has taken me to a couple of different Canadian cities, a place in the US that feels like a second home, and to Europe. I’ve tried different things during different stages of my life, and sometimes in-between figuring things out.
What I’ve learned is that a factor in feeling a sense of happiness – or a state of being content – has something to do with where you are geographically. It also, however, has something to do with where you are in your life, both mentally and in terms of what you want out of life.
There are some things we can control. If we have the option to live in two places, and one has everything we want whereas the other doesn’t, we can choose to live in the place that makes us happier. If we’re somewhere we don’t see ourselves being long-term, however, but other things line-up, we can choose to stay in that place and to seek out the positives around us.
Throughout everything – all the travels, the trials, the accomplishments – I’ve learned one big thing: happiness isn’t completely a state of mind, but a large part of it is mental. Some things can be mitigated by our actions, whereas other things require a sense of gratitude and appreciation for where we are. Being most likely to be defined as a “Type A”, there always seems to be more to do. I always find ways to want to improve my life, but a major thing I’ve had to learn along the way is to stop and appreciate everything I have. I may not have everything perfectly in place, but that doesn’t stop me from being happy.
For the first time in a long time, I recognize what I lack, and I no longer want to dwell on it. Sure, some things would be much better if one thing would change, or if something could appear, but choosing to obsess over negative things never seems to work.
Happiness isn’t necessarily a place, a time, an experience, nor a person. Things can make us happier; good weather, making enough money to feel safe, having good people around us, feeling satisfied with what we’re doing and who we are. But to choose to feel happiness in the moment is exactly that: a choice. And to feel an attachment to things that aren’t definitive of who one is, is to waste a lot of time caring about something that will fade eventually.
Sometimes it’s a lot easier said than done, and sometimes people struggle more with this than others do. But when the feeling comes, and it sticks, it’s better than any vacation or trip or fancy party anyone could ever plan.