Pursuit of Happy-ness


It’s been a hot minute. I officially suck at blogging. Though I have a feeling that once certain aspects of my life calm the heck down, I might spend more time doing this. But hey, better sometime than never.

To catch you up with my life, I am currently at the end of week 5…*checks notebook and calendar* …yes, 5…of my last quarter of my undergraduate career at SPU. That means I’ve taken 2 out of my 4 midterm exams, I have 2 on the same day next week, back to back (blessed?) and still have half the quarter to go. But once I set my pencil down at the end of my last final exam in March, that’s it. Sure, to walk in the graduation ceremony I’ll be back in June, but in essence, I’m done. And this is a reality that I have been activelytrying to grapple with. I am a creature of routine. I like having structure. School has provided me that for the last 18 years or so, and now for the first time in my life really, I won’t have that. This is not a bad thing in and of itself, but it means I must enter into yet another period of transition. If you know me personally, you know that this is an area I don’t always do particularly well with. I remember when I started college, when I was no longer under my parents’ roof for the majority of my time, and I remember not knowing what to do with myself. This is largely how I feel now, especially given that my degree is in a field so broad it’s hard not to call it an ocean of possibility. The only thing is, this is no longer a tutorial. My free trial of life is over. So as a person who unfortunately functions naturally from a state of fear for the future, having a lot of choices is not always a comfort, especially now that my choices are in the real world.

I’ve been trying to do some research on ways to reduce stress, to be successful, to be happy, to lose weight…etc. You know, all the things that apparently the whole world struggles with. And honestly, the solutions that people post about and write and rave about vary on a case to case basis. Some people preach “self-care” above all else, and if that works for them, that’s great. For me, if I do nothing but care for myself, I feel like I am not considering others, like I am being selfish, or like it has become something beyond what I deserve. Don’t get me wrong, I agree that we as people (and really, as human beings) require some standard of self care: taking physical care of your body, keeping mental health issues in perspective, and being cognizant of emotional health are all important things. But when my day becomes more about “how can I make myself feel better?” and less about “how can I be more positive toward myself?”, there’s a problem. I want to be the kind of person that is positive toward myself and others. I want to be happy with where I am at as a person, but still have the drive to continue onward.

I had a conversation with a loved one the other day, where they said “I remember how happy you were as a little kid. You were always ecstatic to do things, excited about life. Sometimes I wonder what happened to change that. I wonder whatmade you become so serious, what made you stop being smiley.” As much as it hurt to hear that from this particular person, I realized they were right. Somewhere in my growing up, I forgot how to be happy. I stopped laughing at jokes and started taking offense to everything. I stopped celebrating other people’s accomplishments and started comparing myself to other people instead. I stopped caring about what I thought of what I looked like, and started trying to change my looks to accommodate what I thought other people wanted to see. The only thing is, I don’t know why I did any of that. Perhaps I will never really know why. Blame it on puberty, peer pressure, social media, whatever. But it’s been a long time since I have really been happy. And I’d like to get back to that.

So this is what I am doing about it.

  1. I have allotted myself one “nice thing” a day. This is not to say I am limited in treating myself, but more of a gracious gesture than a treat that I have earned. No matter what happens in a day, I still get one thing to look forward to. Keeps my brain on a positive.
  2. I set my filter on a better level. By verbalizing negative thoughts, I create a reality that is no fun to exist in. So, by filtering better, I do not exist in that world any more.
  3. I will continue to try my best not to compare myself to other people. Simply on the principle that we are all different people, functioning from different perspectives and backgrounds, there is really no comparison to be drawn. Rachel needs to focus on what Rachel is doing so that Rachel can be her best self. I do not need to be the best, just my best.

These are just 3 ideas that I am hoping will help me to get back to something resembling childhood happiness, but in all reality, I know the biggest thing that needs to happen is a refocus on God. There is no convenient time for this to happen, as we learn reading through any part of the Bible, but then again God is not a God of convenience. I know that I will not learn anything worth learning if I tune in to Him only when I have time. If I do that, He becomes a sidenote to my life instead of my thesis. I’ve spent so long trying to write my life thesis, my purpose for existing, that I forget that He is my thesis. So maybe, if I lean into that, let Him take what I’ve been working on and write a good story, maybe I can just be happy to be part. Especially for this next chapter.

That’s all I have for today. Happy Friday, friends.