Jurich: Simplify happinessWritten by Stacy Jurich | | firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m experiencing a quarter-life crisis. That’s what my friends and I (OK, maybe it’s just me) are calling this phase of life where we (I) have no idea what to do. Too many choices. I’m probably overexaggerating the crisis part, like a 14-year old sobbing and losing sleep because a boy she has a crush on asked someone else to the dance. It’s the end of her world, right? I’m thinking, “honey, you have no idea.” That’s probably how most midlife, much wiser people would respond to me.
Either way, how are we quarter-lifers supposed to know what route to take, in an online world of seemingly limitless possibilities? Even simple day-to-day activities have too many choices … coffee — iced, hot? Tall or taller? Leave room for cream? Whole milk, skim milk, half and half, soy, vanilla soy? Sugar, honey, Sweet ‘n Low, Splenda, the yellow stuff, ex-lax … ? For here or to go? Shut the F up, I just want a coffee! Forty choices of toilet paper, 20 types of fishing lures, eight beers on tap, fifteen types of apples. You get my point.
I suppose it helps to know what you want. And what your priorities are. I wish I could insert a video into this section of the column, but instead I’ll paraphrase and you can look up “The Weight of Purpose” on YouTube and watch the three and a half minute video yourself. A friend sent it to me at just the right time. The narrator says, “Where should my focus be? Career? Happiness? Long-term? Short-term? Where’s the balance? … How the hell do you narrow down the scope of what really matters?”
What are the criteria with which you measure your life’s purpose? It’s about the worth of time. The weight of purpose.”
When my mother graduated high school in 1978, she knew she would go to nursing school, graduate and be a nurse. Her mother was a nurse, and her six older sisters also went to nursing school. She would go to Monroe Community College or UT, I mean, TU. And that was that. Now the world is at our fingertips, if you want it. Hello, world. Hello, 10 billion choices. Minus the choice to marry who you want and if you can carry your fetus into full term or not. But let’s not get into politics.
How does one answer the questions laid out in “The Weight of Purpose?” Before, the answers were decided by default. Now, the answers are decided by a few default eliminators like financial or geographical restrictions; the rest is up to our priorities. Whether choosing between lobster and chicken for dinner or deciding on a “career”, priorities are important to have laid out and available for reference. Some wise advice I received from a “mid-lifer” were his priorities: 1. Health, 2. Time, 3. Freedom. Health is advantageous for one who wants to enjoy his time, and with freedom he can decide how he spends his time. And with his time he can do what he loves, spend time with his family or golf.
My priorities might be something similar. Health, definitely. If I’m not healthy, my quality of life is deteriorating. Happiness … pretty vague, but important none the less. As I write these it’s sounding somewhat cliché … like the American Dream. Well something, ahem several things, have gone awry while we Americans have been dreaming. But again, not getting into politics. Even simplifying happiness to find out what makes one happy can help prioritize. Simplifying may even be a great priority in itself!
I certainly don’t have all of the answers, and I’m learning that I won’t no matter what age I am. In the meantime, I am enjoying observing and participating in the choices my friends and I make. Creating events, work, clubs, teams, nonprofits, art galleries, gardens, mead and campfires. My focus is short-term happiness. Travel-mug-size dark roast coffee, leave room for cream.
E-mail Stacy Jurich at email@example.com.