Why is it that one day everything seems to be fine, but when you wake up the next day everything seems to be falling apart? I remember writing my last blogpost, feeling really happy about – well, feeling happy. Then I went to uni a day later, and at work a colleague asked me if I was okay. I was a bit surprised and my natural response was, “Yes, of course, why?” She told me that she thought I was more quiet than usual, and that I looked tired and sad (she is a lovely colleague and didn’t say this to upset me – she was genuinely worried). On the same day a teacher, one that helps me with my writing, asked me a similar question. I thought I was doing fine, really, busying myself with all sorts of things – friends, homework, loads of work, loads of working out, cooking, etc. I thought I had found a pretty good balance. When people started asking me, truly, how I felt, I started thinking about that. And when I was sitting in my room late at night, without anything to do or anything to keep me occupied, I realized that maybe I wasn’t doing as great as I thought. Because when I had time to think, when there was nothing to distract me from my feelings, I felt it all and well – let’s say I wasn’t that happy anymore.
Part of me feels that I cannot, or shouldn’t, write this. After all, there is so much going on in the world and who am I to say that I am not happy when I’m living a fairly privileged life with amazing friends, family, the opportunity to educate myself, all far away from war? I discussed this with a friend of mine because it really was something that was bothering me. This feeling of guilt for not feeling happy when there is so much good in my life. And she told me, quite fiercely, that just because there are people that have it worse than we do, doesn’t mean that we cannot experience those emotions. To us, they are real, and we should be allowed to feel them. I guess she’s right – but part of living in the world that I live in, means that I have the tools and opportunity to change how I feel. I want to take that opportunity. It sounds so cliché, but life really is too short to feel miserable. It is so much easier to just wallow and feel sad and waste time watching TV and browsing the internet to avoid everything – I myself am guilty of that, but I want to stop that. I have so many things in my life to be grateful for, that I owe it to all of that to be happy – or at least try my best to feel happy.
When I started this blog, I had a little notebook in which I had written down notes about my Happiness Project. I had planned out the things I wanted to do to increase my happiness from August-December, and I genuinely think that it made a difference. Having things in writing, for me meant that I started doing them, and as a consequence, I felt better. For example, in August I decided to take more ‘me time’. I wanted to go outside more, and most days I had to force myself to go outside – because why would you, if you can just lie on the couch with the TV on and a bag of crisps? That’s also ‘me time’, right? However, I realized that no matter how comfortable the latter felt in that moment, afterwards I always felt lazy and lousy and, to be fair, annoyed that I had wasted my time. In the moments that I forced myself to go outside, it was unpleasant for a second (the time it takes to get your butt off the couch), but once I was outside I remembered why I preferred walking over watching TV. With all the thinking I’ve been doing lately, I realized that I’ve become lazy with my Happiness Project and, if I’m really honest, lazy with my attempts at choosing happiness. I feel like I’ve been choosing the easy way out, and slowly but surely I relapsed into old, bad habits. Instead of being discouraged by this, I want to see it as a lesson and restart my Happiness Project again in April.
I found that the biggest thing that keeps me from truly being happy, is the way that I feel about myself. With everything that I do, I continuously compare myself to others, nearly always with the conclusion that I’m not as good as they are, that I’m not good enough. When I’m at uni, I compare myself to friends who have better grades, when I’m at the gym I compare myself to the girls that can lift heavier and can do pull-ups. When I go out I look at my gorgeous friends and think, ‘Why would people even look at me?’ This all sounds really dramatic, but this habit of comparing myself to others really stops me from doing things. I decided it’s time to start working on this – and it’s not going to be a half-attempt, all the while thinking ‘this is not going to change’. No – it’s going to be a ‘I’m going to give it my all’, to kick this bad habit. Therefore, April is going to be an extension of last August. I’m going to focus on my ‘me time’, do the things I love, but I’m also going to spend more time on increasing my confidence. I’m still looking for ways to do this, but here are a few things that I want to start doing next month that will help to make me feel happier: working out (my main priorities are pull-up training twice a week, yoga practise 3 times. If I work out more, which is usually the case, I’ll see this as a bonus, but I’m not going to punish myself if I don’t go), going outside more (e.g. going for walks in the morning or after dinner, or walking to uni instead of cycling), writing (I’m aiming to write 1 blogpost a week, and work on my short stories and poetry), and trying out new recipes (twice a week).
Essentially, I need to stop being lazy, get a grip, focus on what I want and make sure I get up in the morning with a purpose. I’m tired of feeling drained and uninspired and unmotivated, when there’s so much to be grateful for and happy about. I want to end this blogpost with a quotation from my favourite author, who didn’t only write that ‘not all those who wander are lost’ (which, to be honest, is a relief and a very positive way of looking at it!), but also wrote:
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.
You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet,
there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
~Bilbo Baggins (by J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings)
I’m ready to be swept off.