Life seems to flow in punctuated equilibriums. All is well and good, we adapt to our surroundings, we find our routine, we find an approximate recipe for happiness. If we’re lucky, we find people and hobbies to carry for a lifetime. Then a major change occurs, forcing us to gather (typically in a frantic state) the assorted pieces of our lives and plop them down in an entirely new set of circumstances. Then we’re expected to go through the same adaptive process, no matter how painful it is to leave our old sources of comfort behind.
Faced with this new scenario, we find ourselves asking so many questions, about our health, our work, our fun. But most importantly, will I be able to find happiness? That is, the variety of happiness I enjoyed before this change. How can I derive the same feelings when the external circumstances are so vastly different? And it is true, no version of fulfillment can ever be replicated—even on a moment-to-moment basis.
We are fortunate enough to have the capacity to experience infinite varieties of joy—the trick is to remember this and to avoid missing out on new happiness because you are clinging to old definitions.
The only constant is your Self, your inner capacity to feel joy. That is the one element that needs to be cultivated, developed, nurtured. Instead of desperately searching your surroundings for new sources to replace the old, rely instead on inner sources by keeping yourself open to new experiences and developing your ability to recognize new feelings of happiness.
At least, this will be my mindset when I move out to San Francisco next week to start a new equilibrium! My experience will be test trial for how easily this method can be adapted.