Define: Happy

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It’s time to address the choices I’ve made in this blog. Lately, I haven’t been posting the “happiest” of content despite happiness being the forefront of this platform with all of the cute Disney and Peanuts gang inserts I have oh-so cleverly chosen (if I do say so myself). After reviewing my content, I’ve noticed how my blog has taken a sharp turn from casual, goofy commentary to a more emotional, analytical perspective. I hope it means that I’ve been growing as a writer, but more importantly, I think it also reflects how my perspective of “Happiness Keeps Running” has changed.

I was a freshman in college when I first started this blog. Doe-eyed, nervous about making new friends, ready to take my first steps into adulthood. Happiness, to me, was everlasting. It was the energy that underlined my motivations, my connections with others, and was the means to persevere through all obstacles. I imagined that happiness would always be coursing through my veins and that I wouldn’t need much else as long as I was happy. At the time, optimism was the way to continuously trigger states of happiness, and feeding off that energy from those around me who made it easy to feel optimistic. I thought that conquering disdain and retribution with a positive attitude was the key to tackling life overall.

Now, as I write this as a senior in college, I see that happiness enters seasons of drought. Naivety is Hope’s secret lover. I’ve found myself unhappy with my choices and path of life far more times that I’d care to share. I’ve found myself feeling lonely and trudging through feelings that I can only describe as “gray.” I’m usually very good about putting up a front when these things happen, but it gets tiring after a while. Whoever said your 20s would be the greatest period of your life was full of crap. I have no idea what I’m doing, no idea what I will be doing, and no idea of what I should be doing. On the brighter side of things, I got into grad school and will be taking one step closer to my dream of becoming a speech-language pathologist. However, I don’t feel fulfilled. I’ve reached a conflict in which I want to be happy and have equated that to feeling full; full of drive, full of passion, full of wonder, full of curiosity. I feel like this is something I’ve been missing on a emotional and spiritual level.  It makes me wonder what fulfillment means to an Asian-American, heterosexual, Christian millennial like me. What do I have to do to feel complete? And all of this questioning makes me feel as if I have betrayed the motivational undertones of my writing in this blog, and as if I am allowing this facade to permeate in my posts.

I think having questions like these have slowly seeped into my understanding of what happiness is, and how to achieve a state of content. As I approach the end of my undergraduate college career, I see now that I used to have such one-dimensional thoughts in assuming that I would always find ways to feel happy. It appears that happiness was easily achieved when going about life with minimal exposure to hardship and conflicts in the process of maturity. I was sheltered, and I’ll admit that. I allowed myself to be so easily swayed into modes of arbitrary bliss without questioning what or why I felt that way, as well as why I needed to present myself as perpetually happy. I used to feel compelled to make every person I remotely knew as close of a friend as they would allow me to be. I believed that everyone had the potential to do anything, and that having that potential alone made the pursuit of goals and dreams worthwhile and plausible.  I essentially classically conditioned myself to portray the whimsicality and enthusiasm of youth, following the rulebook of “fake it til you make it” and forcibly pushing aside my deeply embedded teenage angst with the assumption that it would help me find happiness. I’ve now had enough existential crises and hair-tearing episodes to compensate for the lack thereof in high school, ripping apart the blanket of false positivity and unfounded hope that I once clung so dearly to. And looking back, I can’t help but cringe at this “act” I carried around just to trick and satisfy myself. It really makes me wonder if this attitude was strangely endearing or just straight-up annoying to my peers who had to see me every single day and put up with this distasteful charade. Not to mention that I also used to be an overly energetic morning person with the compulsion to say hi to every living being in the hallways. By the way, sorry to everyone who had to put up with that.

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As I said before, I’m not sure where to go from here. I’m sure this is part of some cliche, sadistic scheme of life, and I’ve been unwillingly designated a cartographer of sorts. I’m also quite sure I’m not the only one who feels this way, and that this is going to take a very long time to navigate. To those of you who resonate with this “lost in the fog” feeling, I’m going to go ahead and be a cheese and say that we’re not alone in this. Let us take our dystopian strides in hand-holding camaraderie. Although happiness has changed its definition and methodology over time, we can still continue searching with the help of one another. By sharing experiences, creating conversational platforms, and striving to be more than just content, we can discover the things that help us experience fulfillment.

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4 thoughts on “Define: Happy

  1. ” I allowed myself to be so easily swayed into modes of arbitrary bliss without questioning what or why I felt that way.”

    thats okay.

    its good to be able to do that sometimes. likewise, its good to not be one of those “be happy, or else!” types. ive stopped investing practically any emotion in friends who insisted a little too strongly that everyone else be positive. you want to live in disneyland? fine– go have a MAGICAL life, Oh Boy!

    however… theres no prize for throwing all your sunshiny outlook away. gray happens, its life. its ok to be unhappy sometimes. its ok to be down, disappointed, angry, sad, and (oh my gosh!) even depressed. its still legal, you know.

    and you dont always get to choose which one you are today. sometimes, emotions happen. that said, be willing to get caught up in happiness sometimes. you dont have to question everything about that. besides, your face is probably going to be that cute for the next 20 years at a minimum. its cute when its unhappy, its cute when its happy. you dont have to love everything about life, but its hard to look at your face and not smile a little bit. ive always thought so. i hope your day goes well, and if not, i hope your week gets better. and if it doesnt– well, dont be afraid to be unhappy. its a really weird aversion that some people have. a smile isnt going to “fall off” if you dont use it all the time. 😦 🙂

    • I think there is a general expectation for young people to be happy all the time and to set an example for others– others being those who are younger and entering these phases of life and also those who struggle to grasp the possibility of happiness in their darkest of times. You’re totally right, we’re all allowed to be submissive to our emotions. And life’s unfair and doesn’t work this way but I wish I had *some* clues as to how to obtain a sense of wholeness and happiness with my current state of mind. But I guess that’s also just part of the journey.

      • yeah, it is a journey. and there are people who expect you to just be there. like its that simple, man, cmon!

        i call it: “be happy, or else!” i just blogged based on this, cheers. as for setting an example, i dont think making young people feel like theres something wrong with them if theyre the only unhappy people theyve ever seen (because everyone else is putting on a brave face) is going to help them. i think theres a buck to be made fixing them in a world that is that full of it, but honesty used to be a virtue. now happiness is more important. phooey. i still like your blog though. ive always been a peanuts fan. and charlie brown is rarely happy, eh? even when snoopy is cute, he just says “good grief!”

      • Thank you! Your feedback is always appreciated. And thank you for your dedicating your post to me 🙂 I completely agree with what you’ve written.

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