You’d be hard-pressed to find a person whose life isn’t fraught with ups, downs, twists, and turns. Life is lived in seasons. And many of those seasons aren’t seasons we enjoy. When at a low point, we often focus on the light at the end of the tunnel as we expect better days to come. We tend to think to ourselves that better days are to come if only we can hold on through these tough times. After all, isn’t that what they have been telling us all our lives? By “they” I mean every self-help book, google article, and feel-good movie. They consistently reinforce this ideal that better days are ahead, which tends to prolong our suffering and general dissatisfaction with life.
People who aren’t happy with the direction of their life tend to have a fixation on the next phase of their lives. That is, the next promotion at work, a college degree, a husband or a wife — the list goes on! I could probably write another article about the things people needlessly attach to their happiness and overall life satisfaction. But I digress. People who are always looking ahead to this blissful, yet elusive phase of life suffer from what is called “destination addiction.”
What is Destination Addiction?
Destination addiction is the belief that happiness can only be found somewhere else, particularly in the future. This thought is extremely inaccurate, yet common. When we succumb to destination addiction, we rob ourselves of the beauty that exists in our lives currently. This forward-thinking mentality is an enemy to our happiness and it reinforces the idea that happiness only exists in places that we are not. In other words, it causes one to think that happiness only exists in seasons of our lives that aren’t present.
Destination addiction distorts your perception of happiness and diminishes or sense of gratitude; it falsely leads you to think that happiness, success, or even peace only exist in the future. It causes you to shortchange all the current blessings you have in the here and now. Although it may not seem like it, you’re blessed in one way or another.
Certain aspects of your life may seem insignificant to you, are extraordinary to someone else. I know that may sound like “toxic positivity” because nobody likes their troubles being dismissed. But it’s true: on your worst day, you live like someone on their best day. And that in itself is something to be grateful for.
Gratitude and Destination Addiction Can’t Coexist.
Destination addictions rob you of your gratitude because you only value the highlights of your life and ignore day-to-day blessings. And the day-to-day blessings are mostly what make up a good life, not just the highlights. By no means am I saying you should look forward to goals, accomplishments, or milestones, but if that’s all that you appreciate in life, you set yourself up for failure; because you think that happiness is a destination, not something that can be experienced at any given time. And once you reach your destination (if you ever actually reach it) you’ll just move on to destination after destination, and never actually take the time to marvel at your present life location. Or even worse, never get to a point of satisfaction at all.
Destination addiction is a one-way ticket to nowhere. There’s never a point of arrival. People with this addiction never get to a point where enough is enough. Satisfaction is always out of reach. When you have an addiction to destinations, you suffer from the pursuit of happiness, literarily. You mistakenly view happiness only as a “not now”, rather than an occurrence that can be right now, and thus you become permanently dissatisfied with the state of your life.
How to Recover from Destination Addiction.
The recovery from destination addiction is much like recovery from any other addiction. The first step one must take is to admit that they have a problem. However, that sounds easier than it actually is. Because many people with destinations don’t think they have a problem, they just think they have high standards and are unwilling to settle for mediocrity. And for some people that may be the truth. And If that’s the case, you can stop reading. But for the people who constantly need to reach a new pinnacle of success; those of us who are always looking ahead, completely disregarding everything they already have: this is for you. Read the next paragraph, and read it well.
There will never be a chapter in your life where the pages align perfectly and the story will be just as you imagined. Life is not meant to be continuously blissful. There will never be a shortage of problems. That’s why you should start figuring out what problems to learn not to care about so that you can focus more on the problems that matter. By no means did I write this to discourage you. I wrote this to encourage you by letting you know that the complete state of tranquility is an unrealistic feat that no man has ever accomplished. And to remind you of all of the happiness that you are missing out on in the present time when you mentally press the fast-forward button on life. Life is meant to be lived. Happiness is a mindset, not a destination; if you’re not happy with what you have, you won’t be happy with what you get.