In our pursuit of happiness, it is difficult to find a path to live by. Usually the happiness seems to be somewhere on the horizon. The idea is that we are currently not happy and obviously must be doing something wrong. If only we did something different or were able to fix mistakes. Unluckily, most efforts are met with further unhappiness. It is hard to realise that happiness is not based on some projected future but rather only exists in your frame of mind.
It is possible to be happy in abject situations. People with a fraction of your net worth are happier than you. Happiness has almost nothing to do with what you have learned over the years. It is something very personal and actually can only be realised on your own.
There are many different ways to point to happiness. There are no ways to clearly teach how to achieve it.
For many years, I worked at Citrix as a programmer. I took pride in being there from almost the beginning. Our team pulled off some amazing feats. We were underdogs that survived and also thrived. Based on our success, we were happy. The happiness we felt was partly due to the hardships we had shared to reach our goals. It is hard to express how special it was.
Unfortunately, my work identity became too entangled with my life. When the day finally came early last year, Citrix had decided to remove our group. The reactions to this news was diverse. In my case, it was surprising.
Some gentle advice comes to mind. Keep in mind that although it is enticing, work and life are not the same creatures. Depending too much of your happiness coming from work will eventually cause drama. It is far safer to view work as something that is bound to change over time. Loyalty will not guarantee you a future at work.
Another point is money. It is far better to find the job you love than it is to search for a job that pays more. Sounds simple, yet in practice, few follow this advice. It is unhealthy to become a slave to money. There is no happiness in that. Money does not buy lasting joy.
In the back of my head, this seems like a cheap attempt to convince you of career counselling advice. However, these conclusions come from working more than 25 years in the computer industry. The cliches are true.
The main point I wanted to make is that reality is not based on work. You live your life. Work provides a temporary purpose. Your bigger purpose is only known to you. As part of this, it makes sense to peel back layers until you get to what you are really meant to do on this planet. Keep it simple. Spend time with friends and family. Enjoy the little things. Find the time to admire what is. Realize that you have nothing to lose since you already have all you need to be happy. Find a way back to your own path.