Have you got destination addiction? (I’ll be happy when…)

Have you got destination addiction? (I'll be happy when...)

Destination Addiciton1

Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are - Dr. Robert Holden

I’ve always been a striver. Forever in pursuit of a new challenge, diving into another project, constantly looking to attain happiness or achieve success. Reflecting on my life, even as far back as primary school, whichever hobby I was into at the time I would always think, I’ll be happy when I get to this level or that stage, or when I get my next badge.

Then it was college and “I’ll be happy when I finish this course and start University”. Then quite quickly it became about landing a graduate job, my next promotion, my next pay rise. I’ll be satisfied when I get on the property ladder, buy a better car, earn 6 figures. I’ll be successful when I set my own business up and I’m working for myself. I’ll achieve true happiness when I settle down, get married, have kids… the list goes on. The notion that I would be fulfilled when I arrived at my next destination, became a way of life.

 

 

I’ve witnessed countless people who live a maddeningly chaotic life, living in the future where the grass is so much greener, frantically ticking things off their ‘list of things to achieve in life’ list. They just need to get to X, Y or Z, they just need to buy that bag or lose that last 5lbs.

As a busy working mum I’ve spent years (or should I say lost years) feeling like I’ll just be satisfied when I get on top of the housework or, I’ll be able to relax when I get to the bottom of the laundry basket and finish the ironing pile (and quite frankly we all know that shit never happens).

 

 

As a busy working mum, I’ve found myself thinking ‘I can’t wait for the school holidays’ shorty followed by ‘I can’t wait for term to start again’

 

Funny thing is, you get to that place, you reach that destination, or you buy that flash new gadget - and you’re still not entirely satisfied. Satiation may be experienced for a short while, but it doesn’t last, and you don’t stop there. You start looking for the next thing to strive for, the next project to get stuck into, the next job, the next partner, or the next object to buy.

 

Over recent weeks I’ve scrutinised my tendency to constantly work towards the next thing, and my preoccupation with the future. It hit me just the other day how utterly exhausted I had become by it and I decided enough was enough. I post-mortemed the sections of my life - college, university, corporate career, setting up multiple successful businesses, marriage, kids. Whilst these are indeed fairly typical pursuits, it was the everyday minutiae in amongst those life chapters that held me hostage, distracted me, and ultimately robbed me of the small wonders in everyday life.

 

 

I got married and had a baby, and was on Cloud 9. I was exhausted and, as is the general consensus with most new mums, I pinned my hopes on future dates - it’ll get easier when my baby sleeps through, is weaned, is potty trained, starts walking, starts nursery, starts school and then I can get back to work.

I wanted the days to pass quickly so I could hurry up and get to the good bit that was waiting for me. By this time I’d also moved house, engaged in a writing course, and baby number 2 was on the way. We moved house again and I started up my business once more. We’d moved into an old victorian house that needed a lot of work, and I believed satisfaction would only be gained when it was completely overhauled.

Baby number 3 arrived and I was already obsessing with relocating back to the place we’d originally left.  But then I’d get there and I wouldn’t be happy, or it would be fleeting, so I’d look for the next thing to make me happy. The bits in the future that would make me happy.

 

 

I realised I had inadvertently been tormenting myself with my incessant pursuit of happiness, and I was missing out on life as it was happening. Many a time I’ve been psychologically absent, my goal being to ‘get through the day’ rather than actually enjoy it. Frantically racing to tick things off my list rather than enjoy life simply as it is.

I wondered if this constant preoccupation with the future and striving to attain the next thing was really just me running away from my real problems? I found this idea so intriguing I started to research the subject, and I wasn’t surprised to find a plethora of material on the subject. It seems this affliction known as ‘Destination Addiction’ (a phrase coined by British Psychologist Dr. Robert Holden, Britain’s foremost expert on happiness) is a social ill that’s prevalent in society today.

Destination Addiction is the belief that happiness is the destination, rather than in the journey itself. The belief that your marriage will get better when you relocate, you’ll be happier when you get back to work, you’ll be satisfied when you’ve got back to a size 8, etcetera etcetera.

 

Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are - Dr. Robert Holden

 

 

Pinning your happiness on this future destination makes us believe that if we can only be happy when we get to this point, then surely we’re not happy now? This leaves us feeling discontent, dissatisfied, restless, unhappy.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with striving to get that certification, buy a new house, change your job, buy those new shoes - these are all perfectly normal parts of life and ones we absolutely should enjoy. Of course we should look forward to the future and be relentless in our quest to fulfil our dreams. We just need to avoid pinning everything on the terminus, lest we forget to enjoy life along the way.

So please don’t live your life thinking you’ll be happier when you get a better postcode, a Louis Vuitton, a more impressive job title - it’ll never be enough, you will always crave more. And if you can’t be grateful and happy with what you’ve got now, what makes you think you’ll be happy with more?

As my Grandma used to say “We come into the world wi’ nowt and we’ll leave it wi’ nowt.” In other words, you can’t take it with you when you go, and you won’t be any better off or any more important than the person in the next burial plot (I know, getting a bit morbid now).

 

 

So after a turbulent year, a marriage ‘shake-up’ (as I’m now calling it) and a huge change of career, I made a pact with myself - to declare myself content with who I am, where I am, what I have, NOW. To remember that happiness is within, it’s not something that can be pursued or bought.

 

I truly believe happiness comes from gratitude. From wanting and loving what I already have. As they say, it’s not happy people that are thankful, it’s thankful people that are happy!

 

 

Life is happening right now. It is the daily stuff, the daily grind, the mundane. I’m sure as hell not going to waste 5 days of the week looking forward to the weekend, I’m going to live and love every day.

You too should love every day of your life, and if you don’t, I urge you to consider ways you can change it.

 

Much love, Fran xxx

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BossingIt! aims to empower and inspire women to be strong and independent, and to illustrate that life is there for the taking and that YOU are in control of it. I want to encourage you to realise your potential, so you can grab life by the balls and carve out the life you wholeheartedly want to live, so you can feel joy and gratitude each and every day, and ultimately be the very best version of yourself. I want to share the belief that if you’re not 100% happy with any aspect of your life, be it work, relationships, parenting, health & fitness, or life in general, it’s never too late to change things or even start anew completely. Every day is a new opportunity to start over, to be who you want to be, and YOU get to write and rewrite your story!