Archive for January, 2015

What is it that makes us unhappy? What is it that makes us feel like we’re stuck? That we’re nothing more than hamsters running as fast as we can but no matter what, we can’t break free from that wheel of everyday life? Of monotony and boredom?

I have often found myself reflecting on the year 2013. A lot of people who know me have heard me talk about how that was the best year of my life. I got to travel to so many places and experience so many things and it was a year of growth and freedom. However, in the background, my personal life was in shambles. The year that I have often thought of as the absolute best it will ever be was also one of the darkest, most taxing years of my life. I was lost in so many ways, but I also think that that year taught me about miracles. That every single time you feel like giving up, something beautiful happens that reminds you why you’re alive, and why you’re lucky to be. 2013 taught me that instead of trying to run from darkness, I should just carry a flashlight.

That flashlight is positive thinking. Over the last few months, I have felt the earth shift beneath my feet. I made a conscious decision to be happy, to always be sure to find the beauty that is surrounding me because it is there – we just sometimes turn our heads away. It is okay to be sad. It is okay to be upset about things, to be frustrated and afraid. But when that sadness and fear becomes overwhelming – when it starts overtaking who you are and affecting your day to day life – you need to make a drastic change. And that change can happen in a second, like the flip of a switch.

For a long time, I suffered from that horrible habit of comparing myself to others. I won’t lie, I still catch myself doing it sometimes. I still feel envy and I get upset that I can’t have the things that I want. What I’ve started to do recently when I find myself feeling that way is I begin a countdown of all the things I’m thankful for. I make a mental checklist of all the people that I have in my life that love me, and do so more than I could ever deserve. I relive happy memories and let myself relish in the fact that I will have the opportunity to make more of those memories. I think about spending autumn afternoons exploring used book stores and I think about soy mochas and I think about that one song that just sets my heart on fire. I think about all the things that have ever made me happy, and I’m often overcome with this incredible feeling of gratitude. All of the envy is washed away, and I realize that if I wasn’t who I am, I would probably be jealous of me.

I know that seems sort of like a self-centered way of thinking, but sometimes you have to do that to put things into perspective. I have stopped taking anything for granted. I very often realize when I’m experiencing a beautiful moment, and I’m not afraid to verbalize it. I can’t even count how many times I’ve turned to a friend and said, “I’m so happy to be in this moment and I’m so happy you’re here with me.” I remember being in Washington D.C. with my friends Kate and Amy early last year. It was night time and the moon was shining and we were standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial and I stopped what I was doing and I said, “I just wanted you guys to know that this has been one of the best days and I’m so glad I’m experiencing it with you guys.” I don’t hold back anymore. I’ve realized the amount of love I have in my life and I feel like if I don’t release a little bit of it back into the universe, I might explode.

I feel like as soon as I switched gears in my brain, everything else fell into place. I started putting faith in the universe and I began truly believing that everything happens exactly the way it’s supposed to. You get what you give. If you block yourself off from positive and happy possibilities, they won’t come to you. They are always trying to, though. Positive experiences are around you constantly, you just have to open your eyes and see them. For the first time in my life, I am totally content with where I am. And more importantly, I have learned that you don’t have to do these huge, pretty, flashy things to be happy. You don’t have to travel the country and have all these crazy experiences to be happy. Every single moment is filled with so much fun, joy, and love.

Now, instead of having some goal that I need to be happy, I find happiness in the tiniest moments. I find happiness in staying up all night watching weird horror movies with my friend, Macie. I find happiness in playing with my friend Steph’s beautiful twin baby girls. I find happiness in watching Netflix and crafting with my friend, Taylor. I find happiness in dancing to Taylor Swift with my friend, John. I find happiness in thrifting with my brother. I find happiness in having lunch with my friend, Ashley. I find happiness in taking my mom to see her favorite dancer. I find happiness in curling up in the cafe on campus and reading a book. I find happiness in watching The X-Files while I put away laundry. I find happiness in falling asleep with my cat, Max.

I find happiness every single day because I choose to. Will you?

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