Isn’t it curious how elusive happiness can be? We often find ourselves on a relentless quest for it, oblivious to the fact that we might already be immersed in it. But then life throws a curveball–illness, heartbreak, layoffs–making us question whether we were content before that moment. I like to believe that we can discover pockets of happiness, even amidst the chaos. After all, life’s uncertainty is a constant, so why not seek a way to find joy within it?
The Search Begins
I’ve been on the hunt for happiness, just like most folks. One place I wandered during this quest was the realm of retail therapy—buying things. A whole lot of things, even when I didn’t even need them. I’ve always been a tech geek, and those iPhone and Mac ads had me hooked from the get-go. And let’s not forget those mesmerizing videos showcasing fancy desks, camera bags, and people flaunting their shiny new gadgets in “everyday carry” tours. The folks in those videos seemed pretty successful, leading you to believe that these gadgets could work magic in your life (hint: they don’t).
My journey into this world began when I landed my first job in high school. I had started getting into photography and thought I was “ready for an upgrade.” So, I struck a deal with a family member to put a hefty sum on their credit card, with the promise to pay them back. Don’t worry; I paid every cent back. But I only used that fancy new camera five or six times before it became a dust collector.
I repeated this pattern multiple times after graduating high school, amassing a pile of stuff I didn’t need or use. It hadn’t quite sunk in that these gadgets were just tools to help me achieve my goals. No matter how much I splurged on these cool toys, none of it was bringing me genuine happiness or helping me reach my desired destination.
I'm Outta Here
I thought a change of scenery might do the trick when tangible items didn’t seem to bring me happiness, so I moved! It wasn’t an easy choice, as it meant leaving my family and friends behind. However opportunities presented themselves, and I ended up relocating to South Carolina to live with some relatives. It was around the time I was nearing graduation from The Modern College of Design, and I’d done some research that showed an increasing demand for graphic designers in South Carolina.
Before my move, I’d been facing some challenges back home, and I’d convinced myself that a fresh start in a new state would be the answer to my happiness quest. With new surroundings and new people, I believed that life would finally cut me some slack. Well, I was wrong again.
The graphic design industry is fiercely competitive, and the dream job I imagined proved elusive. So, I persisted for about a year, but luck didn’t seem to be on my side. Eventually, I made the tough decision to move back to Ohio, feeling defeated and uncertain.
Allow for Happiness and Choose Otherwise
Just before my move to South Carolina, I had a significant experience with my faith. I was going through a lot of family-related challenges, and I got an invitation to attend church. That day marked a turning point in my life. I felt a newfound sense of hope that I had never experienced before, and let me tell you, it felt darn good to have that hope.
After my return to Ohio, I landed a sales job, working for one of my older siblings. After about nine months of making sales calls, the opportunity I had been waiting for finally knocked on my door. It came by way of a former college instructor, who mentioned that a design group called CreativeFuse was looking for some freelance work. After a 3 month internship, I joined the team full-time, and I’m loving every minute of it.
But you know what might just be the best part of this journey? It was when I took a trip to North Carolina to visit Andy, one of the partners at CreativeFuse (or as I affectionately call him, “boss”). I went camping out of my truck, spent quality time hiking in the mountains, and wrapped up the trip with a heart-to-heart conversation with Andy. I have no doubt that God had orchestrated this meeting for both of us. While discussing the challenges I was facing and my tendency to seek happiness in all the wrong places, Andy dropped some knowledge bombs that hit me hard.
First, he said, “Instead of searching for happiness, allow for it.” This was like a wake-up call. He explained that happiness isn’t something you find by actively searching for it; it’s right there in front of you. By constantly searching, you’re actually moving further away from it. But if you take a step back, go about your life, and allow yourself to be happy, it will naturally happen. The action to take really became a mindset shift more than anything. Since that trip, I’ve embraced this perspective, and it has made a world of difference. I worry less, and I can approach my days without the constant struggle to force happiness.
The other nugget of wisdom he shared was, “Choose otherwise.” It might sound simple, but it hit home.
I was struggling with some significant challenges, and he reminded me that when those negative thoughts or habits pop up, I can consciously choose a different path. I don’t have to repeat past mistakes. I’ve since replaced many of those negative thoughts with prayer, reading, or simply telling myself to choose a
I’m done with the relentless pursuit of happiness. I never want to find myself in a situation where I feel compelled to pursue happiness as if it’s a goal or some sort of accomplishment. Instead, I’m going to allow for it to happen naturally, and I’m going to choose a better path whenever life throws a curveball.