Why following your bliss is overrated / by Anita Cheung

If I hear someone say “follow your bliss” one more time, I’m going to….$#%@*%.

Sorry, was that too negative?


Coming from someone who is a self-admitted happiness chaser, this is a pretty big thing to say. Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe in persuing your passion and making conscious decisions that add to your happiness- after all, if you don’t, who will? I guess what I’m saying is-

you can follow your bliss, but when you finally catch it, you’re still you.

So let’s all chill out, take a step back and re-evaluate. Before you pin that photo of Corsica on your “Travel” pinterest board  (just kidding, who uses pinterest anymore anyway*), ask yourself this: is that serving you? Is that REALLY going to make you happy?

Of course, I’m not saying that everything we do needs to “serve” us. (Heck, the half bottle of wine I drank a few weekends ago did NOT serve me very well the next morning.) I’d just like to suggest entertaining the idea that for many of us, our idea of “bliss” is misconstrued. We keep chasing dreams and people thinking we'll finally "have" it one day. I’ve touched upon how happiness isn’t a quick-fix. It’s not a goal to achieve or a handbag to buy. We all know that “money can’t buy happiness” yet our online shopping carts are never empty. I’d also like to add that happiness doesn’t lie at the end of the earth after you’ve travelled to twenty countries nor does it lie at the foot of your honeymoon bed.

It seems these days you aren’t “cool” or “interesting” unless you have a couple of travel stories under your belt. In fact, some may argue you haven’t been initiated into your 20s until you’ve gone abroad. I was once told by my high school teacher that-

“No matter where you go, there you are.”

I thought he was an old fogie who couldn’t remember his quotes correctly, but now I see clearly that he was actually a pretty wise old fogie. Whether we’re riding a tuk tuk in Thailand or the elevator up the Eiffel Tower, we are still us. We may experience a few changes in perspective but no experiences can change us as powerfully as when we look inward. (Teaser for another blog post to come)

A fun little aside (feel free to skip on) 

Recently I had a discussion with some girlfriends about what it means to be “basic”. (Yeah, I did.) What came out of the conversation is that if someone isn’t well travelled or have interesting hobbies/ experiences, they are in turn a basic bitch (not exclusive to females). Ironically, the term “basic bitch” according to urbandictionary.com is: A person, particularlly a female, who believe they are the shit because they own a certain type of clothing/material that differentiates them from other people. They may also believe they hold a higher standard then regular people.

Since we’ve now discussed how neither buying clothing nor experiences will add to “bliss”,  we can pretty much say they’re interchangeable. Which means, if you replaced the words “clothing/ material” in that last paragraph with experiences, anyone who calls someone else out for being a basic bitch, is actually a basic bitch themselves. Bam. As Marshall from HIMYM would say- Lawyered. I mean, I’ve been told everything in our world is a reflection of who we are inside- I didn’t realize the mirror was that literal. 

So if bliss doesn’t lie at the end of your year long trip abroad, nor does it live in the corner office… then where?

You know it by now,- it lives within you. You could collect enough handbags to fill an apartment or take enough photos to use up your iCoud storage- but following this idealized version of “bliss” won’t do you any good. You can follow it all you want but until you find it within yourself, it doesn’t matter where you go, there you are.



*Note: unless you’re in the wedding, teaching, or personal chef/ nutrition industry