Less than two years ago I was so caught up in the idea of happiness. I thought I knew what was going to make me happy because I knew what I wanted. Shockingly, getting what I wanted did not make me happy.
Let’s start from the beginning, I was starting my Sophomore year in college and there were a few things that I really wanted and was so worried about not getting. Number one, there was a boy (of course there was a boy!!) and I liked him so much it was almost concerning and I thought if I just could have him then I would be happy. Number two, I had just made it into the college of Chemical Engineering and I thought this would make me happy. I would graduate and be happy with my job because Chemical Engineering sounds impressive and people will think I am smart. Number 3, I wanted to be skinny (who doesn’t think they are going to be happier when they are skinnier).
Well, in the last two years to say the least these three things that I thought would make me happy well, didn’t. First off, I did land the guy at about the start of junior year. We dated for a little bit and then he broke up with me and then started dating someone I know and had to see them together all the time. The thing is that now I realize that I was never happy, not when I wanted to date him, not when we were dating, and definitively not when he broke up with me. I wasn’t happy as myself and therefore I wasn’t happy with him. But it was the need to be wanted, to have someone want me in that way, that I was so obsessed with.
Second off, I thought I would be so happy in Chemical Engineering, I’d have a great job and make lots of money and then I thought I would be happy, but there is one thing I didn’t expect to happen. I hated it. I really dislike Chemical Engineering, but yet here I am 5 classes away from graduating and I have no idea what I want to do. I realized money wasn’t going to make me happy if I didn’t like my job.
Thirdly and lastly, I wanted to by skinnier. I am technically smaller than I was however at a very high cost. In the last two years I have torn my ACL twice and had reconstructive surgery twice. I lost everything on my body because of these two surgeries. I lost muscle and fat from not moving and the pain meds making me nauseous. I’ve been considered handicap for over a year because I was unable to walk. I can say that I am skinnier, but at what cost?
Now, in this present moment, I’ve learned a lot about myself and what is actually going to make me happy. Here’s a short little list that I try to live by now to remind myself that it isn’t about where I will end up, but the journey it takes to get there.
- Happiness does come from relationships, however it is best when love is given to others, to all others not just your significant other. So focus on the love from your friends and family and showing them your love for them (and your worth is not defined by a boy!!!)
- You might not always get what you want, but maybe what you need and what will make you happy, isn’t what you want.
- Focus on your health and how you feel when you eat and exercise; if you feel good and are healthy, that body will follow.
- It doesn’t matter how your life looks, it matters how it feels.
I cannot say that I am an expert on happiness because I still have days where I wake up in the morning and struggle to get out of bed. I have been through a lot but I know that many others have it worse and yet feel more blessed. The only thing I am certain of is that you don’t know you’re happy if you’ve never been sad so, sadness is just a part of the process and when you’re down remember the next time something makes you happy, it’ll feel that much better.