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Harshada Rajani

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Taking Back My Happiness

Posted: 02/20/2013 11:27 am

I think I've forgotten how to be happy. I'm not trying to sound depressed or melodramatic, but I really think I forgot what that emotion is supposed to feel like. I've mastered pretty much every other emotion under the sun, but happiness still evades me. If the world or fate had their way, I would be bitterly unhappy for the rest of my life, but that is not going to be the case, if I have anything to say about it. I used to be spewing with all kinds of blissful, hopeless, annoying happiness. I thought that since my present left a lot to be desired, I could just lose myself in my beautiful past. I would simply hide from the present and look through awesome, old pictures, and daydream about funny, old memories. Sounds like a great plan, right? Wrong. Dante Alighieri's Inferno said it best, "There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery." Word.

So I formed a new plan. Everyone around me had a life that was moving and thriving while only my life was stuck and barely surviving. They were becoming doctors and professors, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, but yet, I was still a patient, and arguably, nothing more. So obviously, I decided to momentarily forget about my worries and troubles, and live vicariously through their good times and good vibrations. I appreciated my friends and family profusely for sharing their wonderful lives and wild stories with me. I loved celebrating their triumphs and mourning over their tribulations. But I would be lying if I didn't say that, no matter how much I loved them, for a split second, I shamefully hated them. All of them. 

Hearing and seeing how normal and full their lives were, just reminded me how abnormal and painfully empty my life was, and that killed me. I was jealous of them for being able to walk into a room and talk to me. I envied them for having a life that I would never have. I hated them, most of all, simply for being happy... But that kind of thinking won't get me anywhere, except straight to the bottom of a bottle of Johnnie Walker (ok, ok it would actually only be a bottle of diet coke, but that doesn't sound as edgy). So after literally half a second, I diligently shoved those destructive and incredibly selfish thoughts to the back of my mind, under the blanket of euphemisms and jokes that has come to define my life.

I always used to feel as if I could just put my entire life on hold, and find my happiness elsewhere, until I got 'better.' I still feel that way to an extent, but it's been over four years, and I'm still not better, or even half the version of 'better' or happy that I want to be. The days, months, and years are rushing past me, whether I like it or not, and I need to change my thinking, before it's too late. I know I can't change the past, I can't even change the present, but I can sure as hell, change the future. I need to stop desperately looking around for happiness, and instead, look inside myself. There is always some happiness in the struggle, value in the journey, and beauty in the breakdown, you just have to really look for it.

I've realized that I've been searching for happiness in all the wrong places; the places in which I had learned to subconsciously associate with incredible amounts of happiness. Happiness wasn't going to be found partying the night away with my favorite girlfriends. Happiness wasn't going to be found reflecting in my patient's grateful eyes. Happiness wasn't going to be found pulsing through my veins as I dance on stage in front of thousands. Instead, happiness is now found in the proud smiles of my mom and dad as I accomplish even the smallest of rehabilitation goals. Happiness is now found in the laughter caused by the good humor and good nature of my brother and my friends. Happiness is now found most constantly and consistently in the unconditional love of my precious dog, Duke. These are subtle, fleeting doses of happiness, but happiness nonetheless. These small yet powerful moments of satisfaction are all I have right now, and sometimes I feel like they're all I really need. 

But I hope, I feel, and I know, I deserve more. I deserve to be as wildly, blissfully, and hopelessly happy as everyone around me, if only for a few moments. Someday, happiness will be found in being able to pick up and pet my dog. Someday, happiness will be found in talking a walk on a brisk autumn day. Someday, happiness will be found in going to fabulous parties and on fabulous vacations. Someday, happiness will even be found in a graduation day or a wedding day. Someday. Until then, a girl can dream. I just want a happy ending, and I don't think I will stop until I get one.

 

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