It may seem counterintuitive; it feels like we live in a society that says success, success, success. If you don’t get the A, you aren’t good enough. If you don’t get the Ivy League degree, you aren’t good enough. If you don’t, then you aren’t. Everything is a competition against the person next to you that is doing it so much better. Build a better, stronger, more competitive resume. More time, longer work hours, stronger commitments. Strive for the American Dream. Strive for accomplishment and titles at the end of your name. DNP, PHD, RN, BSN, MHP…
In the American Declaration of Independence, our Founding Fathers proclaimed that we are endowed by our Creator with the unalienable right to the pursuit of happiness. (Townhall.com)
What exactly did the founding fathers mean when they said we had the “right to the pursuit of happiness”? Is the pursuit of happiness the pursuit of things? Degrees? Grades? Practical jobs? Is it temporary moments of happiness? Is it a 60 hour work week at a place makes us miserable? Is it peer pressure? Is it social constraints? Is it judging others?
Or is the pursuit of happiness the moment in which we recognize that we will not be happy in every moment; we will not enjoy all of the hard things that happen. Is it the moment in which we make choices to be happy? Is it the moment in which we choose ourselves? Standing, saying, “I choose me in this moment.” This moment will be different for all of us but this is the moment where we cannot be afraid to fail, be afraid to pursue, to try for the hard things and to enjoy the little things…
Somewhere in my childhood, I got caught up on the sensible, the reasonable, the best decision, the most excelling choice. There are a series of moments where I chose the most practical thing rather than the most exciting thing. I have chosen the mediocre at times – settling for what made sense rather than the thing that opens up my heart, mind, and soul. I have been afraid of failing and we have become a culture that has moved away from the words of our founding fathers and have forgotten the pursuit of happiness.
What does this have to do with my still baking baby? The first step into the unknown, the darkness, are the hardest. These are the steps that may determine whether we make or break and we will cling, protectively, to the light in the room. Babies, though, they take their first steps knowing that they may fall. They stand up, over and over again, intuitively knowing that they must move on and move forward. We do this naturally – but somewhere in our adult lives, we forget the beauty of risk. The joy in risk. Babies naturally seek progress.
When I think of my little one’s future, I want him or her to make their choices as if they were a flower seeking the things that will make them bloom. It isn’t that every decision must be successful; flowers bloom even in the rain. It is that he or she never loses the determination of a baby – to keep standing, to keep moving, to pursue happiness and to realize, at the end of the day – every choice will be beautiful. Every choice will make him or her into an amazing adult someday.
When you find yourself, it isn’t failure. When you find what you love, it isn’t failure. It isn’t easy but that is success. That is the pursuit of happiness.