What does it mean to be happy?
When I was younger, I struggled to be apart of society. I wanted to be the girl that everyone spoke about, the girl that everyone wanted to be friends with, the girl that all the boys wanted, the girl who could work all day and party all night. In this, I unintentionally created a personal turmoil for myself because I was not that girl. I didn't have a relatively normal life, mostly sitting in hospital consultation rooms or having a needle in my arm to test me for another possible thing that could disrupt the normal life I had already lost. I just didn't fit in - I couldn't just go out because I would either suffer severe medical repercussions for doing so and my anxiety of this happening lead me to make excuses not to go out and socialise. When I returned to academia in 2014, the waves of liberation from taking a step outside my door and entering a new world alone was nothing short of intoxicating. I began making friends and flourishing in the social community. But I wasn't happy.
It's taken me six years to understand that just because my life isn't the most normal of the lot doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing because, ultimately, nobody's life is really normal either. I became so fixated on becoming the socialite, focusing my attention on the well-being of others and their studies that I forgot who I was – that anxious, unsociable, nerdy girl who buried her head in books and writing about life whilst hiding in her house. There was a time when I thought that girl was awful. She loved getting her future in line rather than making valuable connections with people. The learning curve that has been my return to being a student has taught me that that girl wasn’t so bad and now, the best parts of her remain with me now.
There is a certain contingency around the social community for which you conform to. People come and people go, some pass with silence and others crash out the door. Having been so deprived of social acceptance and placement from being debilitated, I just wanted to fit in and I conformed to other people’s guidelines and wanted to make sure my friendships with them remained intact. In this, I think I forgot myself. I forgot that I mattered, that the education and future that I had so desperately been striving for took a backseat as friendships and relationships took precedence over my life. I was just not happy, even less than when I had been within the retreat of my home when I was too ill to do anything.
Although the predominant dark realities of social communities have left me conflicted between whether it is right to remain or to leave for seclusion, I believe that being a student in an environment of a variety of ages has doctored a new philosophy within myself.
That anxious, unsociable, nerdy girl who buried her head in books and writing about life whilst hiding in her house and that social butterfly who formed precious connections among the rubble of social conformity have led me to become who I am now. And, although I’m still on route, I’ve find my happiness.
The moral of the story is; you don’t have to be any one thing. You don’t have to take the red pill or the blue pill but you can take the purple pill. Life won't be a lavish ride of luxury but you can make the best of what comes from the strife. You don’t need to hate the person you are because, in time, you’ll come to realise that you adored that personality. You can find your happiness, even when you’ve lost your way.