Destination Happiness

If you’re on TikTok, you might see this trend making its way around about how none of us have ever had an original thought. There is always going to be someone else who is thinking the same weird shit you’re thinking.

And that’s exactly where I heard the phrase destination happiness.

“It’s the notion of never being content with life in the present and thinking instead about the ‘ifs’: if I get a new job I’ll be happy, if I lose five pounds I’ll be happy – and so on.” – Source

I’ve been writing a lot about feeling this way lately. And if you look back through the five-ish years of my blogging, you’ll see that I’ve written that exact same blog post a thousand different ways over the years. I’ve always had a hard time living in the present. I was just reminiscing the other day about how in high school I knew that if I just made it to college then everything would be better. And then halfway through college I just knew once I graduated everything would be better.

Once I had a boyfriend, everything would be better. Once I got a new job, everything would be better. Once I got a dog, everything would be better (well, this one is actually true, life is better with a dog).

I’m just always hoping, wishing, and waiting for the future. But happiness isn’t a destination. It’s not something that will always be waiting down the road for you. You have to work for it, you have to create it, and you have to make it happen now, not later.

I think this mindset of destination happiness has led to a lot of burnout and anxiety for me. It really is the root to almost all of my problems. My happiness is not somewhere down the line in 5 years, it’s not a plane ride away, it’s not a destination I can just aspire to get to at one point. I need to make it happen for myself and knowing that there’s a word for it and there are other people who feel this same way make me feel much less alone.

16 thoughts on “Destination Happiness

  1. This is a thoughtful post. I’ve always felt we get happiness in little and big bits all along the way, same as sorrow. Much of it is about paying attention and feeling gratitude. I hadn’t heard the term destination happiness, but I have certainly learned that it is not some plateau you reach “if and when” but all the little sparkles of life along the path. And I totally agree, dogs (and for other people cats) do make life better! ❤️

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  2. Happiness is internal, whereas most people think it’s external. Those statements such as, “Once I graduate school, then I’ll be happy” is external happiness. When something conditional and outside of our control changes that condition, then we are unhappy again. This type of happiness is fleeting because external happiness cannot be sustained long-term. People try to sustain it with food, alcohol, drugs, partying etc. but will always fall back to their default no matter how much they try chasing external happiness.

    As for internal happiness, it’s harder to get but easier to sustain long-term. I feel like many of us are set to being naturally unhappy (like myself) whereas some people are naturally happier by default. I stopped chasing external happiness for this reason and started seeking fulfillment in life instead 🙂 I agree that pets help a ton! My cat really helped me get back on track and overcome major depression back in spring 2019 🐈

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  3. I think we’re all guilty at some point of doing that and it’s only as I’ve got older that I can live in the present ..just go with the flow and enjoy your thoughts
    No point in trying to push them away all the time

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  4. Awww I love this. I remember being in my early 20s, planning for this trip and absolutely obsessing over it. Then I realized that I was constantly spacing out, constantly thinking about something that would occur months from now, and not even noticing what was happening in the present. You can’t live your life for just a few months out of the year, just like you can’t live your life for the weekend or for that day when you finally reach ____ goal. So much of life happens when we think we’re waiting for something to happen.

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  5. Yes! I feel this — we’re taught this delayed gratification from a young age, and it’s tough to change that way of thinking. I know that when it comes to that “I’ll be happy when I lose 10 pounds” didn’t work for me…I still hated my body because I hadn’t worked on my relationship with my body. So my motto became “just wear the friggin crop top!!”

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