Happiness Depends on You
What makes you happy? Would you look back in 20 years time and regret what you’re doing now? Do you dream of doing something completely different to the life set out for you by society?
Do I, a 22 yr old student, who hasn't even finished a Bachelors degree due to my relentless travel lust, even have the right to be sharing my philosophy on life when a large portion of my readers are probably older than me? I’m gonna leave that as a rhetorical question… because truth is, I am a young, free spirited dreamer who has no idea what she’s doing with her life. My current lifestyle has no stability, I have no idea where I’ll be in a year’s time or what I’ll be doing. But the unpredictability of the unknown is what entices me, I don’t want to know that I’ll be working the same job for the next 10 years of my life. Some people say that I travel to escape the tolls and responsibility of ‘real life’, and by that they mean getting a ‘proper’ 9-5 job. Can you, then really blame me for escaping ‘real life’? After two office internships, I can truthfully say that my personality just isn't cut out for a desk job and there are too many reasons why.
To those who share a similar perspective on life or feel like a bird in a cage, you’re not alone. I still have my life choices questioned by family and friends, making me question if I’ve made the right choices and whether all the risks and sacrifices I took were worth it. Maybe they were, maybe they weren’t.
So, I wanted to share some thoughts about happiness and the life choices we make. I’m no guru and definitely not a writer, but it’s something I’d really like to improve on so this is me taking initiative. - Who else regrets not taking writing classes more seriously when they were at school?
1. Don’t wait or expect opportunities to fall from the sky.
You have to chase them, seek out your own opportunities and take them for yourself. They might not always work out in your favour, but at least you tried. The number of things I’ve applied for and people I’ve written to, less than 10% of the time do I actually hear back from them. Sometimes, I even think, there’s no way I stand a chance but I apply anyway and that small percentage of people that do get back to me was worth all the drudge of general admin.
2. Believe in yourself and your decisions. Be confident but beware of arrogance.
If you don't believe in yourself, how can you expect anyone else to? You’ll never know what you’re capable of until you try and this applies to many aspects of life, from something as little as applying for a Scholarship to quitting a job and doing something completely different. For me, I gave up the prospects of a good salary that comes with a full time job and I bought a one way ticket to Europe, determined to follow my passions and live a life with no regrets. It wasn't an easy choice to walk away from everything you know, from comfort and stability, to friends and family. But now that I’m here, it has never felt more right and I have never been happier! That’s not to say there hasn't been challenges along the way, however, I’ll save that for a future post.
3. Realise that happiness is dependent on you and not others.
I’m so in love with my life, more than I have loved anyone in my life and realise that ultimately my happiness is attached to my life, to my body and my soul. My happiness isn't dependent on someone else, my happiness will stay with me as long as I continue to live life according to my dreams and passion. Friends, family, lovers, although a very central part of your happiness, can only complement your happiness because you’re the one who controls how they affect your happiness.
A poor traveller who has nothing but a backpack can be happier than a rich man who has everything, that’s because thus true happiness comes from loving yourself and your life and doing things that fulfil you and gives you joy.
4. Surround yourself with people who inspire you and understand you.
The people around you are your most important source of motivation. They should inspire you to be better versions of yourself, who support and understand you despite your crazy ideas because nothing is impossible with the right people by your side. I find myself constantly drawn to those who share the same crazy passion for life and when we are reunited, it’s like an explosion of energy from colliding stars. Different people inspire different parts of me, sometimes it’s selflessness and modesty, other times it’s their energy or outlook on life that inspires me to do new things, take a leap of faith and stretch my physical and mental limit. Even though most of these beautiful souls live in a different country, we keep one another in touch and alive with our travel stories, photos, crazy moments.
5. Embrace change, don’t fear it.
People change, things change, you change. What you (or your parents) had planned when you were 18 and fresh out of high school, isn't going to be the same when you’re in your 20’s and discovering the world for yourself. The endless possibilities of our youth and the beautiful gems of this world are constantly changing and moulding my future self. I used to fear letting people I cared about down, people who had ‘high’ expectations of me. But if I didn't change, I’d be submitting to my fears and betraying my hopes and staying true to myself. I’d be a very different person leading a very different life.