once the stress vanished after finals, and the excitement settled after celebrating the end of my college days, i assumed i would be left with nothing but pure motivation and anticipation for a future that only i get to determine.
on monday, i expected to wake up with the sun, hop to my feet, and neglect my morning coffee because somehow i'd have the energy to just make shit happen. i mean, that's what a bachelor's degree is supposed to help do right? secure some sort of financially stable future? a happy, financially stable future?
on monday morning, i drank my coffee black. monday afternoon, i checked my e-mails and talked about options for repaying my student loans. by monday night, i was sitting on peter's lap, crying because i felt empty.
what if college wasn't such a good investment after all? what if all that time spent agonizing over word count and MLA formatting and gpa doesn't amount to anything? what if all the knowledge i've consumed on history and philosophy and political theory has only embittered me toward a world that i can't enjoy now? why aren't i happy?
peter wiped my tears, kissed my cheek, and showed me this video about a study on happiness.
i don't know how he knew exactly what to show me in that moment, but it worked. halfway through the video, right when the danish man with curly hair starts talking about what makes him happy, something clicked and i breathed a sigh of relief. and the something that clicked wasn't anything i didn't already know. it's one of those tricky little things that slips away from you when you need it most-- the knowledge that being happy and content is only about appreciating what you have, and not wishing to have more than you need.
"Pressure is a result of high expectations. Wanting it all is a bacterium that stays with us from youth to old age. Wanting: a bigger house, a fancier car, more stuff. And when we get more, there's always someone with even more stuff who's just as unhappy. Some suggest the unhappiest zip codes in the country are the wealthiest."
Advice: "Don't depend too much on the American Dream."
for me, happiness isn't an office job that pays a fixed yearly salary. happiness isn't returning to a home town devoid of ambition. and happiness certainly isn't graduate school or more debt to dig deeper into my $20,000 hole. i've never wanted those things, but something about the fact that everyone else who's graduating is being herded in those directions, as if those are the only options in life... it makes me question these goals of mine, which were so concrete only a little while ago.
my goals and passions have almost nothing to do with the typical American Dream. i know in my heart that i want to travel and to roam the soil of as many different countries as i can reach and to know the people who live in them, sincerely. and i know that the idea of working in an office ever again absolutely repulses me. i think that's great for other people, so long as it makes them happy. but it just doesn't work for me. not yet at least.
if only i can hold onto my drive to move and fly about-- that insatiable desire to escape a materialistic society, to let go of everything i own in pursuit of culture and beauty and variety of character-- if i can hold on for 3 more months, and live simply while i work and save and plan-- then, i'll be okay.
it's the little things in life that make me truly happy. like crying on peter's lap one minute and twirling in my kitchen the next. like swinging high over my backyard fence and making lights dance.