The Lost and Found

Apr 23, 2015 by

          What makes each person happy is different, so it would follow that everyone has different priorities. That sounds like an easy concept to grasp. Until someone comments on the way others choose to prioritize their lives, I forget that for some people it’s not. For some people, it’s difficult to see that what drives them is not what drives everyone. Such closed-mindedness leads to judgement. No matter how happy you are or how little you care about other people’s opinions or how laughable you think it is that some adults cannot agree to disagree, when such judgement is directed at you, you may question yourself and your happiness.

          I’ve been told on two occasions, once at 22 and once recently, that I am lost. Not in constructive ways; but rather, with intent to say that I am approaching my life wrong, specifically my work life. I was bothered each time for the same reason: Who is anyone to criticize me or you or whomever for not living as he or she would live? Though said in very different circumstances and at very different life stages, both statements were made by people who couldn’t understand my choices because they weren’t choices that they would make for themselves.

          What I don’t understand is how a person can have the audacity to tell another person that he or she isn’t living right when there is no right way to live. For one to judge someone else for not prioritizing as he or she would is to presume oneself right and someone else wrong without ground. Moreover, to take such a high-and-mighty stance toward another person’s decisions is to put that person immediately on the defensive, and for good reason: Who is anyone to judge anyone for being lost when we are all just doing the best we can with what we know?

          Based on our individual life experiences, what we know differs, thus all of our pursuits for happiness look different. With regard to work, the subject that prompted two people to voice their unsolicited opinions about my life, my job is not my top priority. No job will be. I’ve been that route before, and what I know as a result of that experience is that consuming myself with work does not make me happy. Fortunately, I now work for a company that doesn’t feel as though it should be my life. Embedded in the culture is the belief that people should be wholly fulfilled. Being presently content within that culture without feeling the need to strive toward some dream job does not make me lost. It makes me sure of how I’ve ordered my priorities.

          Frankly, I just stopped looking for the answers to the lost-girl, quarter-life-crisis questions: What am I doing? Where am I going? Am I happy? I’m not about to revisit them now that someone other than me has posed them. I answer to no one but myself.

          Furthermore, while on the topic of being lost, let me reiterate that there’s nothing wrong with that. Getting lost is normal. Better than normal, it’s adventurous. There is, however, something wrong with the term lost being confused with the decision to prioritize one’s personal life over one’s job. Placing my relationships above my work does not make me lost. It makes me happy.

          A person’s happiness and the reasons behind it do not need to be justified to appease others. There is no need to explain your life choices to anyone. The only person you owe an explanation to is yourself. To other people, you can be lost or found, failing or succeeding, drowning or thriving, because what you are to other people doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are happy, and that you see yourself as such.

Happiness Tip: Answer only to yourself.

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