On Success vs. Striving

happy and poor poor and happy

I associate happiness with energy, with direction, with being interested – whether that’s interest in figuring out what happens next in chapter 12, in reading an article about conflicting research on the economic effects of immigration, or in deciding how much to increase the allspice in a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe.

I associate happiness with having a plan. The Plan, mind, doesn’t have to be grand – “Write 1,000 pages in three weeks” or “Save the world”. It can be, “Find out if Lidl is still selling shelled pistachios” or “Please get around to replacing the water filter in the cellar this afternoon, you idiot.” Happiness isn’t a position. It’s a trajectory.

Lionel Shriver writes for the Guardian about how the years she spent getting rejected were, in retrospect, really happy. It’s an interesting meditation on what happiness IS really, anyway, and a good reminder to enjoy the PROCESS, the challenges you’re facing, the various purposes you have in your life right now, instead of focusing on specific achievements. After all, an achievement is exciting for a day or so, and then what?

It’s a very nice day out today, at least here. The coffee shop was empty when I got here at 10 a.m., no freelancers could bear to stay inside. I went and sat on the steps of a school with my coffee and caught up on the internet from there. Of course now the sun is going to set in three hours but ssssh. Let’s enjoy the trajectory.

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