Life is supposed to be amazing. It’s supposed to be a great gift and an extraordinary adventure. So why does it always feel so ordinary? I want nothing more than to be fulfilled by life, but I’m always left feeling dissatisfied. I’m underwhelmed by realities and constantly captivated by possibilities. I’m always guessing, wondering, and searching. I never know if I’m doing the right thing or making the right decision. The only thing I know is that I haven’t found everything I’m looking for. I’m not satisfied yet.
I feel like being dissatisfied means I’m doing something wrong – that I’ve made a mistake somewhere. I don’t think it’s right to feel like this, and I don’t think other people are discontented and frustrated the way I am. I see people all the time who seem happy, settled, and satisfied – people who marry their best friends, people who shop at Crate & Barrel, people who are passionate about working, people who think pregnancy is beautiful, people who always feel blessed, people who don’t want anything else. So where did I go wrong? Why am I not satisfied?
At the ripe old age of 26, I feel I have gained, from my vast experience on this earth, some factual knowledge about the greatest mystery of humanity. As elusive as it sometimes seems, I’ve convinced myself that I know what happiness is. I’ve convinced myself that I will know happiness when I find it. I’ve also convinced myself that I have not found it yet. I know this because, as a seasoned 20-something, I’ve created – from books, movies, and the internet – an image of happiness that is beyond accurate.
Happiness and satisfaction are a utopia. When I’m happy, I’ll have knowledge, certainty, and clarity about life, and I won’t feel confused any longer. When I’m happy, I won’t have the itch to constantly move, and I won’t feel the yearning to find something else. When I’m happy, I’ll finally feel like I’ve done everything I wanted, and I’ll know that life can’t get any better.
The trouble is, I don’t think I want to feel that way right now. I’m not ready to plant my roots; I’m not ready to stop believing that there’s something else out there for me. I’m not ready to accept that this is it, and I’m not ready to stop searching for what could be. I don’t want to be stationary, and I’m scared to death of becoming stagnant. What I want most is the possibility of something else. I want to believe that there’s something greater, something better, something more perfect. I’d rather feel a burning need to find something else than the lackluster satisfaction of settling for anything less than everything. I want to feel alive. I want to be dissatisfied.
Being dissatisfied doesn’t mean you’re a failure, and it doesn’t mean you’re unhappy. Being dissatisfied just means you haven’t found all that you’re looking for. It means you want to live your life to the fullest. It means you’re always hopeful that each bend in the road will bring something more thrilling than the last. It’s not that I’m unhappy where I am or that I don’t enjoy life; I’ve just convinced myself that dissatisfaction is wrong. But why is dissatisfaction such a bad thing? Is it so terrible to want more? How disappointing would the universe be if we could find all that it has to offer in a single lifetime? If you think you’ve discovered all that life is, then you’re either incredibly arrogant or terribly foolish.
There is happiness in dissatisfaction, clarity in the constant search for more, comfort in the chaos of unbridled life, and solace in the yearning for something else. The fact is, there is always something else out there, and there will always be something else out there, and most of the time, it will be elusive. Failure doesn’t come from never finding it – failure comes from never searching for it.