Searching for happiness in 2024

I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness lately. I’ve realized that I’ve spent a solid chunk of my life waiting for something to happen on the expectation that I will be happy once it does.

When I was younger, my happiness revolved around my romantic status. There was almost always someone I had feelings for and my happiness depended on if he felt the same. Infatuation came easily to me and it stuck around for a long time. While it was happening, my sense of well-being was at the mercy of the status of this relationship.

Over the last several years, I’ve become more focused on my writing career and I’ve found my happiness more dependent on that than anything else. I’ve achieved more than I ever thought possible. I signed with an incredible literary agent who has helped me sell three books so far to a Big 5 publisher. Two of these books are out in the world and on the shelves at Barnes & Noble, indie bookstores, libraries, and one is even in Walmart! I have a film agent! I thought these things were the key to my happiness and that certainty is what drove me to work so hard for them. It’s recently sunk in that seeking happiness from the achievement of outside goals isn’t enough for me because it’s fleeting. I need to focus on finding enduring happiness from within.

Being single has always made me feel like a societal failure because I’m supposed to want romantic love. Isn’t that what books and movies have taught me? I write romance for fuck’s sake! And I do want this, but the truth is, I’ve felt more stressed out in most of my romantic relationships than blissful. I’m middle aged and need to be honest with myself that maybe I’m okay with being alone and if so, it doesn’t make my life any less meaningful than if I were coupled up. Or maybe the right person for me is still out there but is beating myself up about the steps I’m taking or not taking to find him worth it? Isn’t it better to follow my bliss whether it drives me to join Hinge and Tinder or do my own thing? Which is going to make me happy right now? I should do that! The same with my books. Despite my accomplishments over the last three years, along with happiness, pride, joy, and pleasure, I’ve also felt frustrated and desperate, like a failure and a disappointment, worried, paranoid and sick to my stomach! I’ve put so much emphasis on those two aspects of my life for decades. As a result, when reality hasn’t lived up to my hopes and dreams, my entire well-being suffered. It’s not a healthy way to live. I know this and yet I’m caught in this loop.

I was thinking about New Year’s Resolutions, as one tends to do on December 30th, and decided to try something different in 2024. It’s not accurate to say that I’m unhappy, but I’m just not as happy as I’d like to be on a consistent basis. I’m going to actively work on being happy from the inside out. I’m going to put in the work to figure out what that word means to me and do whatever I can to chase the feeling!

To start, I’m going to focus on the joy I get from the act of writing. Before I ever completed a manuscript, signed my first contract, signed with an agent, sold a book to a major publisher, I wrote because I loved it. I still do. When the release of my next book ROOMMATING was first pushed from 2024 to 2025, I was disappointed. But now I’m actually thrilled that I get to enjoy the process of writing a new book without the added pressure of the success or lack thereof of a book release messing with my confidence.

So, yes, I will keep writing. But I need more. I can’t be all about dating or writing…writing or dating…I can’t put so much pressure on one or both of those things going well to control my happiness. What can I do then? I’ve recently moved from Manhattan to White Plains. Perhaps a more robust social life here will make me happier. Perhaps not. The truth is that I am an introvert. I enjoy staying home and watching television/reading/writing. But there’s also a very active social side of me that’s been dormant over the last few years that I should let out more. Whenever I spend time with friends, my heart lifts, which means I might need to put more effort into initiating plans…choose going out over staying in even if that means I can’t write that day or watch another episode of School Spirits (my newest obsession). Whatever it is, before I decide, I am determined to ask myself the age-old question: Will this make me happy?

Though it’s not 2024 yet, I am already asking myself if blogging more will make me happy. I think it might. If so, prepare to hear more from me soon! For now, I will leave you here and wish you all a happy and healthy New Year!

1 Comment

  1. Lee Anne on February 14, 2024 at 5:36 pm

    My sweet friend, you know I cannot read this without drawing my own opinion. What else would you expect from me! Happiness is fleeting and depends upon our circumstances. It comes and goes with the changes in our lives. I believe what you are seeking is the joy that comes from finding something greater than yourself. That is the only way happiness can have any depth. Without that internal joy, happiness is superficial and blows away like dandelions in the wind. I could share more about this with you, but would do so only in private. God bless you and be with you, my friend.

    P.S.: As I proofread my post here, it occurs to me that “Dandelions in the Wind” should be the name of your next book!😆😆😆

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