Happiness Is…

Something I do that I know I shouldn’t do: I judge the severity of your problems by whether or not you’re in a happy relationship.

There are some problems that are universally terrible- death, destruction, and serious illness or injury, and of course I sympathize with people suffering from these problems regardless of their relationship status.

But then there are normal generational angst problems. You lost your job, or you hate your job, or you didn’t get into the school you wanted to, or you don’t know what you’re doing with your life. You don’t like where you live, you’re living at home and hating it, or you’re having trouble finding an apartment or buying a house. You had a falling out with a friend, or you miss your friends, or someone else’s wedding is stressing you out, or you’re fighting with a relative.

If you have any of those problems and you’re also single (or even in a bad relationship), I sympathize with you. But if you’re happily in a relationship or engaged or married? I know I shouldn’t feel this way, but I just can’t take your problems seriously. At the end of the day, you have someone to come home to whom you can talk to about it, who will comfort you and make you feel better. My problems might be the same as yours, but I don’t have anyone to come home to. If I ever lost my job, I wouldn’t have a significant other’s income to fall back on. I don’t have anyone with whom to buy a house or split the cost of a one-bedroom apartment. I don’t have someone who’s committed to being with me.

So there’s my ugly confession, and reading over it, it makes me sound really bitter. I’m not, I promise you. Like anyone, I have moments where I’m down, but the majority of the time, I choose to be happy. And happiness is, indeed, a choice and not a destination like some people make it out to be. You can’t spend too much time thinking about the future or, to paraphrase John Lennon, you miss the life that’s happening while you’re busy making other plans.

But recently, I took a step back and thought about my life and everything in it. I realized that the one unequivocally great thing in my life right now is my friends, who are amazing and fun and keep me sane.

With the rest of my life, though? There’s not really anything else in my life with which I’m completely satisfied. Nothing is really that bad (I guess things could always be worse as long as I’m not starving to death in an impoverished country), but nothing is at the place I hoped it would be by now. I still don’t have any of the three things I want the most. I’m writing more, but still not nearly as much as I want to. I’ve gained an insane amount of weight in the last year. I have trouble getting enough sleep. And my career goals are still in progress.

Life is short, and it’s time to start working harder to change things. When this year comes to a close, maybe things will be better. For now, I’m choosing to be happy, but I’m also choosing to move forward.

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