Fact: everyone gets sad.
Fact: much of our happiness is dependent on personal choice.
And for the past few months, I wasn’t making the right choice. It was really weird, actually, because if you know me (and if you read my blog, you definitely know) that I often like to imagine the world laced in rainbows. But November through February unveiled a part of life that was much more twisted and dark than I had ever seen.
I felt squashed. Squeezed. Suppressed. I took a hit from every side. Everything I was trying to hold on to was slipping through my fingers. Especially my hopes for the future. My dreams were quelled by– dare I say it– reality. I stepped into the role of a student teacher and realized, hey, I’m graduating college in four months.
Graduating, to me, didn’t feel like my release into the world. It felt like a trap. Like life was prodding me into a wall, laughing and telling me what I had to do to be a responsible adult. And of course, it still partially feels that way. But for a few months, I let that get to me a whole lot. I was falling into the strings of normalcy that I have always vehemently opposed.
You know what, though? There is only so long a person can sulk before a decision has to be made. Am I going to stay solemn and passive, or am I going to toughen up and start forcing my way to where I want to be?
I’ll be honest: I chose passivity.
I’m afraid I would’ve stayed passive and average had DoSomething.org not jolted me. It slapped me across the face, actually. It said, “Seriously, Mol? You’re going to just give up? When have you ever done that?” I knew it was right.
On a day I was feeling particularly melancholy, I decided to browse Twitter. DoSomething tweeted a link to a posting of their summer internships. As I clicked it and scrolled down the page, I drew in a sharp breath. Right before my eyes was the *writing* internship of my dreams for an organization I sincerely care about. I burst into tears as I rediscovered opportunity and possibility, and more importantly– my fire.
I became obsessed with this internship. Not only was I signing up for things right and left to bolster my resume, but I was also smiling again. Really smiling. I greeted each morning with gratefulness (okay, and groggy crabbiness, but you guys know I’m a night owl). I began filtering the world and my every day experiences for possibilities again. DoSomething was a huge part in reigniting the fire inside of me I was so sure I had lost.
Remembering that my life isn’t really for me or about me– it is for serving others and for submitting to God’s plan– was so important in choosing happiness. It’s not about me or my dissatisfaction; there’s a whole world out there that could really use whatever help I can give.
The point is, I went from very down to very up in a few months. Let me tell you something about the down: it’s not worth it. Sure, be sad for a while about something, but at some point your happiness becomes your own responsibility. We are all human, and we are all going to face challenges. But, we must face them with the knowledge that courage must trail closely behind.
The other point is, look for things that make you feel alive. Don’t settle into the trap of reality. Of course, we all have responsibilities. We all have things we have to do. My advice is this: find something that sets you on fire (not literally). Those responsibilities will feel like opportunities floating down in little boxes from the heavens. Those things you have to do will become the things you constantly think about and WANT to do.
My suffering was necessary. I realized just how important fire is in my life. How important liveliness and passion is. Having nothing forced me to create and discover what I was missing.
Thank you to everyone who lifted me up during those times. You know I will always do the same for you.