On Being Happy
(New York City, June 10, 2017)
Not too long ago, I won’t lie if I say I thought I wouldn’t make it to today. There were many things that didn’t go right in my life – the next thing I knew, I was left alone in a hurdle when everyone else my age were graduating, getting married, seemingly putting puzzles of their lives together perfectly into place. I was hopeless, scared, and most of all, alone.
I’m not too open about my mental health for many reasons, but I’ve lost many years trying to battle it, ignore it. It was selfish of me, of course, to hide it. However there were times I felt ashamed of it all – the self hatred, the tiredness of existence, the crippling thoughts haunting me awake at night, hurting every inch of me as if I were made of stitches. I had no direction of what I was going to do next. I’ve lost every ounce of passion and soul in those years, and it brutally took a lot to battle through it all. Sometimes, it still does.
So, if you’re out there, and you’re feeling alone and sad, not knowing whether or not you’ll be okay, I’m telling you – just breathe in, take it easy, today is just a day. I still don’t know how I managed to make it to 25, but I am here. I am here and I feel passion running through my veins as if I were 15 and naive. I’m walking around a city that once only existed in my dreams. I’m writing a letter to my younger self assuring her she’d be okay, and that someday, she’d be proud of herself for being independent. We all expect out of ourselves too much when life is just life. It’s not a perfect puzzle, nor a race and contest of who’s making it big. Sometimes it’s just you sitting at a coffee shop and being glad you have a day off to enjoy your coffee and book. Sometimes it’s just you and your best friend on a lunch date. Sometimes it’s just messaging the one you love, asking how their day is going. My life was a mess (it still is), but I’m trying not to dwell on how it should and shouldn’t have been too much. It makes a lot of difference when you quiet out the noise.
You’re going to be okay too. Not always, I’m not going to lie. But there’d be moments, they’d come and go until one day, you’re sitting with a group of friends and laughing about how things used to be and you’d think to yourself, hey, I’m not doing so bad after all. Taking care of yourself starts in small steps.
Here I am today at 25. I haven’t published a book yet like I wanted, I haven’t won any major recognitions. I don’t have a fine, established career. I don’t have a million saved in the bank.
But I can cook better now and I drink lesser cups of coffee. I lived on my own (in Hawaii!) for a year. I’ve been to places off my bucket list, got featured in writing sites and publications, and I’m now fond of hiking. I’ve solo traveled, a lot. I’m currently in the city where I feel like my soul lives all along, and I’m sharing it with my mom, whom I consider my best friend. Most of all, this is the happiest I’ve ever been in the longest time.