About a year ago I wrote a blog post about finding happiness. Finding who you are, what makes you smile, laugh and even cry. If you were wondering, I am still searching for my own happiness, but this week has really pushed me to see that it’s not time to give up yet. I’ve been thinking a lot about who I am and who I want to be; who I want to be tomorrow, in a week and even in the next couple of years. I know a lot of people go through changes once college starts, or even four years later when you’re a senior ready to graduate. You might find new friends, find new hobbies, new foods to enjoy, and as the years go by some of those things that changed not too long ago, change again. You find another group of friends you enjoy spending time with, you stop participating in certain activities but take up new ones, and you might even find a new favorite study spot. I’ve been there, trust me. The tricky thing is actually finding out who you are and how you can be happy with yourself throughout this time. You want it all to make sense right away, you want to be happy every day and to always have your life figured out, but over the past year I’ve learned that happiness is something you might be working on your whole life, and that is okay. I know it’s easier said than done, but I’ve come to the conclusion that you can’t give up on yourself because one day you’ll be able look back and be thankful for what you went through. The hardships, tough times, smiles, tears, and the great times all allow you to find your true self.
I’ve really tried to find those special people in my life who make me laugh and even make me cry, and sometimes it takes a lot out of you. You go through days where you just want to be alone, not talk to anyone and turn your phone off, but sometimes you have those days where you ask the same friend to spend the night 5 days in a row because you just want to have someone there for you. Sometimes it takes heart break, and time off from friends to figure out who is there for you, who will always be your friend through the good times and bad, but eventually it all comes together and you can see how your life might have changed 360 degrees, but you circle back to those people who have always been there for you in the long run. It’s funny to look back on freshman year and think these people have stuck by me for all these years now; and you can turn around today and still see those same people standing behind you.
It took a pretty big moment in my life recently to figure out that I had changed a lot this past year. Not necessarily changed in a bad way, but I wasn’t really moving in the direction I wanted to. I stopped hanging out with my closest friends, put some people first who might not have had my best interest at heart, and decided that being unhappy about the little things in life wasn’t cause for concern. I’m sure many people can relate to this. Sometimes it’s hard to see how unhappy you are with yourself because you are trying so hard to push those memories and moments out of your brain. You want to focus on the good times, those days where you couldn’t stop smiling and laughed until your stomach hurt and you were rolling around on the floor crying. But, one thing I have learned is that it takes strength and determination. You have to be strong to even stand up to yourself and say, “I’m not happy” or start thinking about what you can do to change your mindset and change your ways to become the person you want to be in the future. You have to be determined. Don’t let your own thoughts get in the way of turning the corner, be bold, be confident and be yourself because deep down we all know the person we want to become is somewhere inside of us already.
I know it’s hard sometimes to realize you’re not alone, there are so many people in this world who are behind you and sometimes it’s scary letting them in. Talking about your feelings, the bad day you had, or even why you cried when you watched a dog movie on Facebook, can be a really hard thing to do. Always wanting to figure out everything on your own, waiting forever to ask your friends for help or advice, it’s draining. It took me a long time to realize that I was not alone in this world, even being surrounded by amazing friends and family, it’s easy to keep a lot of things hidden away. But, 21 years later and I finally feel like it’s okay to talk about life, school, work, friends, and just everyday things. So don’t freak out if you are still having trouble letting people in, it took me a long time to understand that talking about your feelings or even just talking about the day you had is so much better than keeping everything to yourself. Learn from your mistakes, share your thoughts, secrets, and memories with people who you care about and who care about you, because you might not realize it, but they could be going through the same things you are just to be happy. Somewhere along the way you’ll realize that the only way for you to find yourself is to find others who will support you and love on you and make you feel like you are worth a million, because you are.
I believe that happiness is a journey. It’s not something that is just achieved, but can be created. This is the time in our lives to accomplish goals, empower ourselves and change who we are. Devote time to the most important things in your life, whatever that may be. It might surprise you how much time you actually spend on these important parts of your life. Believe in who you are, and cut yourself some slack, it’s okay to mess up, to make mistakes and to realize you might be unhappy. Life is about making those mistakes and being able to look back and say, “I’m glad I went through that”. I am still working on this part myself, sometimes it’s really hard to understand why we have to go through certain heartaches just to see what is ahead. You might lose some people along the way and that’s okay. Remember to surround yourself with joy, happy thoughts, and people who will always be there for you 20 years from now. Take some time to look around and see where you are today, reach out to those people who might have gotten away a few months back, find a new study spot, a new favorite drink at Starbucks or even a new favorite song to listen to on repeat. Learn to love, smile and cry. Remember that your life is a precious and short thing that can be changed in the blink of an eye, so don’t let those small bumps in the road get you down.