I’ve been thinking a lot about the concepts of happiness and success lately. When we are young, most of the time life is about being happy and enjoying ourselves. As we grow up and start to familiarise ourselves with the feelings of anxiety, stress, confusion, sadness, etc., our happiness seems to take a back seat. We learn that we have responsibilities in life, such getting a job, which is often linked to success. Today I’d like to discuss not only happiness, but also how success shapes our lives.
In the materialistic world we live today, we are taught that success or the lack of such is what defines us. We hop on the train to success and work our as*es off to prove society that we are worthy. My dad’s the primary example. He’s been an engineer for good thirty years now. Years before I was born, he got a job as a general worker at the local opera in my city where he was building stages for performances. As time passed by, he got promoted to be a technical director. As the opera was going on tours in America, UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, etc., managers from those other operas would offer my dad a job because he was really good at what he did. He never took any of the opportunities because he’s too much of a nationalist and could never imagine living in a different country.
Anyways, about eight years ago, he received a job offer from the National Opera in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. As he accepted to be the technical director of the opera in Sofia, he reached his professional peak. Everyone in the country knew who my dad was, and they knew he was the best in the country at what he did. That’s how he knew he had succeeded in life. I always found this story powerful and inspiring until I realised what success was for my dad. It was twelve to fourteen hours work days, no days off, constant pressure and anxiety. Bare in mind, my dad really loves his job. He highly enjoys embracing his creativity and coming up with different ways to build stages for each performance. Working at the opera in Sofia was something he had a love-hate relationship with. He loved it because of the reason I outlined in the second to last sentence and because working for the National Opera meant he had the budget to create anything his mind could think of. He hated it because of the never-ending work days and the stress mostly about meeting deadlines on time.
After not being allowed to take any time off to fly to England for my graduation last year, my dad had had enough. He came to terms with the fact that success had consumed him to the extent where he could no longer be there to enjoy the happy moments in life. My dad quit his job at the opera and got a job as the technical director at the National Theatre. The theatre is an institution much smaller than the opera, and honestly not as successful, but it’s a place where my dad still gets to do what he loves without all the stress and anxiety.
This little story teaches me that SUCCESS ≠ HAPPINESS. When I look back, the happiest moments of my life are the times spent with my family, my friends and my boyfriend. I’m also truly the happiest not when I’m working, but when I’m traveling and exploring. Surely getting work done and achieving my goals feels incredible, but that’s not when I’m happiEST . I’m not saying we shouldn’t be productive and have aims in life, I’m saying it’s good to take a step back and enjoy life a little. Everything in life is about balance after all. But that’s just my personal and biased opinion.
What do you think? What makes you happy? Let me know in the comments down below!