Latter-day Saint Life

You're Looking for Happiness in the Wrong Places


My wife and I recently went to Austin, Texas, to go to a concert with another couple. We got to the venue and saw a line wrapped around the block. After going into an underground lot and practically signing away our first child for permission to park there, we found the venue again and proceeded to walk three blocks to the end of line. After waiting for a while, the women had to use the restroom. Thirty minutes later, they came back with new shoes they had bought (I was confused, but my buddy who has been married a few years longer than me didn’t look surprised at all).

After what seemed like hours of waiting, we finally made it up to the front of the line, went through security, and at last reached the ticket counter.

The Austin dude (I don't know how else to describe him) at the counter took one look at our tickets, and said, "Whoa, man. This is the wrong venue."

Turns out, our venue was on the other side of the line. We just assumed that we needed to be in the line we had waited in because that’s where everyone else was. And yeah…our venue had no line.

This experience has come to my mind again and again. The thought of waiting in the wrong line just because other people were waiting there brought to my heart the realization of how many other lines I wait in—just because everyone else is.

Especially the long line of happiness.

I see parades of people lining up for their turn to catch a passing glimpse of happiness, when in reality they’re not even in the right line to catch the glimpse.

They spend so much time stressing over dating and trying so hard to get married that they miss the happiness they could have had spending quality time with friends and family.

They work at their job so focused on money that they miss the happiness they could have had from playing in the yard with their kids.

They take the safe route because that is what everyone else is doing. And so they continue waiting for happiness—never knowing until they arrive at the destination that they are in the wrong line. (I say "they," but we all know I'm talking about "us.")

Think about it: when was the last time there was a line when you visited a family member, or went to a nursing home, or said “I love you”? True happiness has no lines.

I’m going to share with you some of the five most dangerous words in life (and no, it isn’t ‘Look what I can do…’).

“I will be happy when...”

If you are waiting for marriage to find true happiness, it's the wrong line. You choose to be happy before you get married, independent of all else, and you choose to be happy after marriage, independent of all else.

If you are waiting for that job to be enjoyable and you've already been waiting for a while, it's the wrong line. Instead of waiting to find joy after you leave your job, find things to love about your job, or be grateful that your job enables you to do the things you love once you get home.

They, you, I, us—we choose where to stand. So let’s stand in holy places; let’s stand in happy places. And when we leave the line of the masses and seek our own happiness, there will be no waiting at all, because happiness will become the journey and not the destination. There is never a line to the venue of happiness.

Lead image from Getty Images

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Check out Zack Oates's new book, Dating Never Works. . .Until It Does, coming this December. Zack Oates has been on over 1,000 dates. And while not all of them were great, he did learn a lot of great lessons from them along the way. Find out tips and hints to successfully navigate the dating game—all from someone who has been there.

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