Happiness is within but what about my bucket list?

Whoah, Life please slow down! I am already 35 and there is so much left to do! Wasn’t it only yesterday that I was getting my first job at Red Rooster, jumping for joy as I left the interview?

What about the bucket list I wrote several years back, it only has a few ticks.

I still haven’t set foot on some continents, been married, flown in a private jet, grown my hair past my shoulder blades, visited my long lost aunt in her castle in Holland, learned French properly beyond a bumbling tourist.

Hmmmm. Slow down, Malise. There’s no need to get all crazy-eyed about squeezing in everything you can poke a stick at. Take a breath. Do you really truly care about all that stuff? Breathe. What is the point of it all anyway? That was my little voice on multiple occasions. Those were the words that would get me worked up and beckoned the grand old monster of stress. And of course, I would hear of the same woes from my friends, colleagues and community. It’s easy to fall for the mesmerizing and hypnotic call of the material world and the advertising industry and the media as a whole telling you that you are not a success; you are a failure, unless you can achieve your “bucket list”.

Somehow, success and therefore, happiness is defined in what you “do”, what you “have” and how much of it you fit into your short life. Happiness and success are both like a fleeting emotion that only stick with you while novelty hangs around, or novelty’s other cool friends, infatuation and prestige. These mates are considered best buddies in society today, “hi Happy, meet Novelty”.

So what happens when you one day wake up (if you are so lucky) and realize you can’t actually tap into happiness via your material bucket list? Well firstly, you kinda get a rude shock. You look around at everyone and see something you hadn’t noticed before because it was carefully hidden from view – the sheer amount of lies that the “success preachers” are spreading.

It was that moment that liberated me from the old mind trap. You might say it was not overnight for me, more of a gradual process over the last couple of years. I realized that everything I felt previously was nearly all reliant on outside circumstances, be it material, social-standing, career-climbing, wealth position, bucket-list achievements. Whilst my ultimate goal of happiness is the same as it is now, the Happiness I was seeking was hanging with Novelty, Infatuation and Prestige. And these three guys were unreliable, selfish, irresponsible and, most of all, flaky. Happiness was transient and externally gifted to me.

Today is another story. I could sum it up in this short and sweet quote: “True happiness lies within”. It really has nothing to do with any single thing outside in the world around us. It is within. Just hearing that makes me breathe a sigh of relief and experience a deep feeling of gratitude.  It slows down my breath and I feel a spread of peace and calming serenity wash over me. You see, I have complete control over what I hold within and I know that the universe begins from me.

Your universe begins inside you. You then are the creator of your world. Choose to be your own master of happiness from within and you miraculously attract the success and happiness that the “success preachers” are always on about. But you get it for real. Not fleeting, not flaky, real happiness that stays forever inside of you.

Sure, I bet your bucket list sounds amazing and I know I am excited about ticking some more items off my list in the next several years. However, my outside material achievements have no bearing on my happiness. My measurement of success is not dictated by the success preachers who rule with fear and FOMO (fear of missing out). I will have days where I feel a little weaker than normal but all I have to do is turn off the noise and remember I am just an observer. My true happiness is within.

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