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Is Happiness a Byproduct of Time?


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I saw someone post on their Instagram story the other day, “I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy … It is, above all, to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all … Happiness is just a bonus that comes with time.”  

Being a teenager in the 21st century, I find it incredibly unsettling that we as a society suddenly feel the need to justify our existence.

It is not enough to simply live, but we must serve a purpose and rationalize our happiness.

Once you have contributed to the betterment of our world, only then do you deserve to be happy in a guilt-free way, as if happiness is something that needs to be earned.

Personally, I don’t agree with these statements because for most of my life, I have believed happiness to be a destination. That when I get into this university program, I will be happy. When I buy this item, I will be happy. When I lose this much weight, I will be happy. I always find myself glorifying happiness to be some distant concept that I will be happy when I finally achieve it. As humans, we often fear intangibility because it’s something we can’t control or keep wrapped up in a small package in the back pocket of our daily life. It is something we must believe in and trust that it is there without being able to see it. Hence, we tend to associate happiness with a destination because it gives us certainty. Hope. Yet, with the lack of job security and the COVID-19 pandemic, we as a society have created an unhealthy obsession with productivity. We feel the need to obsessively justify our worth. Even amid a pandemic where thousands of people are dying every single day, we are pressured to slave away and continue to serve a purpose. 

However, what these past two years stuck at home in the COVID-19 pandemic have taught me is that life is pointless if I am not happy. I deserve fulfillment and joy from the things I do in my life, either for myself or others, without feeling indebted to society.

My happiness is valid even if I have not contributed to our world in a stereotypically useful way.

Happiness cannot be a byproduct of time because time slips so effortlessly through our fingers. Before we know it, we breathe our last breath, wondering where our happiness went because we were too busy chasing after external validation. At the end of the day, nothing is worth it if you’re not happy.

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.

We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.

You can find announcements, more news, and get to know our staff on social media: give us a follow, and learn how you can get involved today!

We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.

We hope you’ll join us.

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