I got the good grades, I excelled at all of the "right" things, so...
Where is my happy?
I know how you feel
I was obsessed with getting things "right" and being seen as someone who was successful.
Whatever the situation, I needed to get an "A" in it. And to the outside observer I did it pretty well. I was a decorated athlete, graduated from a top college, and went right into a high-potential job.
I tried to "apply" for the life I wanted
I focused on climbing the "accomplishment staircase," believing that if if I excelled in all of the right areas I would one day reach happiness at the top.
After college I thought I had finally built up enough accomplishments to qualify for "happy." However, at the top of the staircase I found...
I thought the empty feeling was my fault
At first I felt cheated. Like, "we had a deal, world! I work hard, succeed where I should, and you give me happy."
Then I started to feel depressed. I began to think there must be something wrong with me. Like I had all of the pieces of this great life, but I was missing the necessary X-factor to put them together.
I lived like this for a while until I had an epiphany...
My life was "good on paper"
I was doing all of the "right" things and had all of the appearances of a happy, successful person with none of the satisfaction to go along with it.
If I was running an inspection on my life everything was up to code, but it definitely wasn't working.
The realization was like a thunderbolt
Yes, I was getting an A in life. But I was grading myself on someone else's rubric. I had spent my whole life trying to achieve someone else's success. That's why it never fulfilled me when I got it.
I quit my job and started pursuing my own life.