Cultivating Happiness

If I just get this promotion…

When I get married…

When I own a home…

If we buy a dog…

If I lose 10 pounds…

When the stars align…

Then I’ll be happy…

I’m guilty of the if/when happiness trap. Of putting my happiness in the hands of The Future [which we all know is a mythical land that does not exist.] Yet, that is where we place the majority of our happiness.

More than once I have found myself in the situation that I knew would make me happy, only to realize that I felt the same. Not unhappy, but not as elated and ecstatic as I imagined my life would be in that moment. It took me a long time to realize that I had been mistaking excitement for happiness.

Cultivating daily happiness, rather than cultivating excitement, has been a practice of mine for quite some time. Life is exciting, absolutely. But not every day is a parade, and the practice has been choosing to be happy in the mundane.

Today is our third wedding anniversary, and my marriage has taught me a great deal about happiness.

So, so many exciting things have happened to us over the past 3 years, but the happiest times have been in the mundane times. Long car rides, getting lost in a conversation for hours, laughing until we cry, or simply sitting in the same room together as we’re both lost in different projects – that is where the happiness lies.

Being married is the happiest, most challenging, and most fantastic blessing in my life. But to be with someone who makes me happy in the mundane moments: that been the greatest gift.

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  1. says

    This is so sweet and truly valid for everyone. Just today I was thinking how I would be happier if I made more money. But really, would I? Just what I needed to hear, thank you :) And I love that picture of you two!

  2. says

    Happy anniversary, C! Hope you two lovebirds have some fun plans to celebrate!

    And this post is 100% on par with what I’ve been thinking lately. We only have today…this moment. And it’s OUR responsibility to live in it fully. I find that when I can do that, I cultivate more happiness than I ever thought possible.

  3. says

    I just posted yesterday about stress getting the best of me. It took me stepping back and realizing that I would be happy if i just relaxed a bit and enjoyed life with how it came. Thanks for sharing this Colleen and it’s such a great life reminder.

  4. says

    So true. The if/when game is so dangerous to one’s mental health. I am also trying to get rid of that and realize that not everyday is excitement, vacation-mode and amazing dessert kind of day. Some days are mundane! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!! xoxo

  5. says

    Mistaking excitement for happiness. That is the best way to put that, it’s so true. I have been doing my best to stay present in every single moment, accepting that life is always going to be a little bit mundane even if I ever did the reach the “Ultimate Paige” version of myself that used to float around in my head. Now I am just happy to be me.


  6. says

    This is so true- it’s so easy to get stuck in that trap and I admit to feeling that way lately about some things that I wish would happen. But you’re right, happiness can be obtained in the every day and that’s what we should strive for! Happy Anniversary!

  7. Casey says

    Must be f-ing nice.
    … haha just kidding :) I love your blog and your attitude and everything about this., even as a single gal. Happy Anniversary!

  8. says

    I couldn’t agree more with this post! I’m so grateful that I’ve come to the same realizations in the last year or two. It’s so freeing, being able to enjoy the Friday nights in with my hubs, the random laughs with friends, etc. than to wish and hope for some magical, mythical future event that, while exciting or fun, doesn’t determine my happiness.

    Happy anniversary!


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