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Find Your Happy

Two very different, yet very linked, things were said to me a few days before I left the country (for those of you that don’t know, I traveled over to Switzerland about two weeks ago for a three month stay). My boyfriend was lecturing me on how much I worry, which I deserve 100%. He was specifically talking about how much I worry about going back to college (for those of you that also don’t know, I left college my junior year, about a year ago, and haven’t gone back yet). I think his exact words were “grow some balls and just do it!”

Earlier that same day, I ran into my friend Nathan while I was out. He asked me how the preparation for my trip was going. After I explained to him how equally excited and scared to death I was, he said “you’re doing what every twenty-something so badly wants to do but is too scared to do, good for you man.”

For some reason, those two statements said around the same time caused the most insane mental war for me…I am capable of hopping the ocean with a very limited amount of money to be away from my family, friends, and everything familiar to me for three months with no real plan of what I’m going to do there but I am incapable of (and frozen solid whenever the subject comes up) choosing a major and profession and going to college. I am terrified of doing what basically everyone else my age has been doing the past four years. Not just has been doing but officially have successfully done by May this year. I continuously get down on myself about how there will be a graduation held in Batesville, Arkansas on May 7th that includes three of my very best friends, that I met and suffered through freshman and sophomore year with, that I am supposed to be a part of. It scares the absolute shit out of me that I should feel a diploma in my hand in three months and skip out the door wearing a stupid tassled hat towards an inbetween job/grad school/profession. Basically, I’ve only gotten one thing right for where I’m supposed to be at in life: being poor. Literally the last thing I should be succeeding at, but you know. Now that you guys have a pretty good sense of how whiny I am, I need to tell you that I have had an epiphany.

HAPPINESS.

No matter what stage of life you are in, you ultimately have one goal: to be happy. For example, if you’re a five year old that hasn’t been potty-trained yet but gets heart-attack-worthy excited about finger painting, fabulous! I would hate to be your parents, but you’re killin’ it kid! Say you’re seventeen and still haven’t gotten your drivers license because you can’t get this stupid hunk of metal into a parallel position but you have the coolest relationship with your mom because you still get to spend twenty minutes in the car with her before and after school; you’re going to appreciate that relationship when you’re twenty-five and struggling to understand life. If you’re thirty-one and still unmarried, which kinda gets you down sometimes, but you race to work everyday because you have fifteen six years olds that you can’t wait to watch grow up, you’re doing everything right. I could go on and on but you get the point. I am a twenty-two year old college drop out, living at home, broke as hell, with a terrible self esteem, who has no idea what she wants to do as a career so she’s running away from college and clichely telling herself that she’s going to “find herself” and what God wants for her. As I’m eating cheap cheese somewhere near the Swiss Alps in May, one of my best friends will be graduating and going to grad school for OT. Another friend is graduating and was just accepted to law school. One is graduating culinary arts school and becoming an asset in helping start a restaurant.

And I am insanely happy.

Since leaving school, I’ve worked on my mental, emotional, and physical health and can confidently say that I love being in my own company now. Since moving back home, I’ve become best friends with my parents and can’t explain how much I value the relationship I have with them. Since being broke…nothing has happened. I just hate money even more than I did before. I had to get a ‘crappy restaurant job’ at home though and it taught me more about the real world than college ever did and now I have a ridiculously supportive and beautiful second family that I can count on for anything. I spent twenty-one years struggling with time management, responsibility, and self love. The past year taught me enough on all of those fronts to be able to jump into a long-distance relationship that I could not be more excited about. So yes, I’m not doing any of it the way I should be and no, I may not be making the best decisions according to society but I am so rich in happiness.

This is a tiny reminder that just because you’re not doing things the “right way” that doesn’t mean you’re not doing them your right way. You need to make sure that no matter what way you’re doing things, there is something in every day of your life that makes you happy. If it’s your job, your cat, your family, your bike, whatever. Find the things that make you happy, no matter how unconventional they may be, and stick to them.

Your whole life doesn’t have to be a walk in the park, it starts with one thing. This is especially important if you’re at a point in your life where you’re not particularly happy. Not everything has to be happy. People are always like “if you hate your job, quit! You don’t need it.” Liars. They are all liars. Maybe your current job isn’t your dream job but you do have to eat and pay bills and probably buy a new shirt every now and then. Stick with your for-now-job until you have a forever-job that does make you constantly happy. I’ll never pretend like I liked the crap I had to do for the restaurant I worked for but I love, love, loved the people I worked with and that made it worth it. That was my happy thing for that period of time. If you can’t like the people you work with, listen to your favorite singer on the drive to work. That’ll be your bonafide chillin’ time with something that makes you happy. Or always call your best friend before work or on the way there. Just find happiness wherever it may be.

Edith Wharton said, “We have to make things beautiful; they do not grow so of themselves.” If I had waited for my life to magically become beautiful, I wouldn’t be appreciating and enjoying all of the crazy, wonderful things going on in it right now. Find one happy thing and work up from there.

And to those of you doing things the “right way”, I’m already jealous of how much you’re not going to have to be in college when you’re twenty-five years old.

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