Today, I woke up and automatically opened up my laptop to do work, even before I was fully awake. And on most days, I wouldn’t think twice about it. I love the flexibility of working from anywhere, and well, I don’t really have to brush my teeth to do my work online properly.

But it’s become an alarming routine that borders on workaholism, it destroys any semblance of a work and personal life balance and it’s just plain unhealthy in every way possible. And it’s all the more dangerous when you can’t tell if you’re not stressed anymore or just used to the anxiety that seems to be permanently residing in the back of your mind.

Going through the motions is a trap that one falls into when they feel like they’ve achieved something and forget to aspire for more.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to figure out if we’re happy and content, or we’re just so used to things that resignation has become a default setting in our systems.

Personally, I am honestly quite terrible at dealing with my own emotions; I was a volatile mess in my turbulent teenage years and I learned to suppress that chaos through the damaging idea of emotional compartmentalisation. At the time, I really thought I was being pretty clever, because my concentration level dramatically increased when I wasn’t being plagued by any sort of unnecessary drama. As a result, I do appear a lot calmer and feel that way too, but I know that at the end of the day, it’s just keeping things locked up in an airtight jar because I’m not able to handle the icky mess of a fallout when a negative emotion inevitably overflows. Perhaps you relate to being this incompetent at understanding your own feelings, or you might think I’m just looking for a legitimate sounding reason to excuse my horrendous coping mechanism.

In any case, there can be many, many reasons why we end up going through the motions and half the battle is figuring out why. It could be a stagnant relationship, or a stifling work environment, or you’ve simply just lost focus of your priorities due to distractions and as a result, you’ve been living a half life that borders on merely existing for the sole purpose of living for another day. Which is something we were never meant to do, not if our younger selves who carelessly dreamed and tirelessly aspired to be one of the greats had anything to say about it.

We need to understand that contentment comes from the knowledge that you are satisfied with where you are in life, not because you had no power over your current position.

Going through the motions is a trap that one falls into when they feel like they’ve achieved something and forget to aspire for more. After so much effort, you’ve finally accomplished a goal and suddenly everything else doesn’t seem too urgent anymore. You’ve gotten a proper job and you’re getting the hang of things, you’ve been married for nearly a year and you’re really comfortable with your spouse, or maybe you’ve aced that assignment or that test and you totally deserve some time off from your studies. Rewarding yourself is good and all, but sometimes it leads us to being too content with where we’re currently at, when we can definitely be in a better place, whether that’s socially, academically or career-wise.

So many of us succumb to patterns that lead to us living hollowed lives. Resignation and stagnancy can start to feel a lot like happiness and contentment when we mindlessly go through the motions of life in a monotonous cycle, half asleep and thoroughly unfulfilled.

We need to be reminded that happiness is a choice, as cheesy as it sounds. We believe too easily that we need to suffer to be happy in a fast-paced world where the weak gets devoured and the slow left behind, when that isn’t ever the case at all. We need to understand that contentment comes from the knowledge that you are satisfied¬†with where you are in life, not because you had no power over your current position. Only then can you begin to stop walking in a daze and actively pursue your goals, passion and interests, instead of pretending to be happy about something that you never even wanted to have in the first place.