Meet the Wanderer: Chapter 2

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Discovering Yourself as a Writer

If you missed my first chapter in this series, feel free to check it out HERE. My goal in introducing these chapters is to give my readers a better idea of who I am behind the wall of text. I could be a robot pounding out posts, but I’m actually just an overly caffeinated young adult with too much to say and not enough time to say it.

This month’s topic?

HAPPINESS: What is your own secret for happiness? If you had to sum up your ideas, what one word would you use to describe how to be truly happy.

Believe it or not, I struggle a lot with “being happy.” In the real world, I feel as if I spend my life pretending to be a-okay. I smile because I’ve heard that smiling makes it easier to feel actual happiness. I laugh because I’m nervous or uncomfortable. I joke. I giggle. I act. But none of it feels real at the end of the day. In fact, it’s tiring. Being “happy” all the time drained me, so I gave up and embraced my other feelings.

To be happy, you actually don’t have to be happy all the time. Crazy, right? Once I realized this, I felt a lot better about myself. Having a bad day? Rant about it. Cry about it. Get it out of your system. Suddenly it’s gone. Worried about something? Worry about it. Finish worrying. Move on. Perhaps it isn’t that simple for everyone, but I realized that once I stopped trying to ignore the rest of my feelings, I felt a lot better about myself. My friends and family finally got to see the real me.

But that doesn’t mean one should embrace these feelings all the time. In Japan, I got lost a lot. Sometimes I got lost alone. Sometimes I got lost with a group. Usually, when I got lost with a group, at least one person got REALLY upset. One time, my friend and I spent an hour looking for a cat cafe in Akita City. (We wanted to spend our afternoon petting cats and eating silly little desserts.) My friend got incredibly upset, especially after we had to ask for help. We found the cafe about 45 minutes after it had closed. She apologized over and over and over, but honestly, it was fine. I could get frustrated, but how did getting lost actually hurt us?

As I see it, we saw a lot of the city. We found the cafe so we could go to it next time. We spent the afternoon with each other. Maybe we wasted a little bit of money traveling into the city, but is it really worth spending my afternoon angry over a couple of dollars or yen?

I’ve found myself asking “Is it worth it?” a lot recently. Surprisingly, that mindset has helped me keep my emotions in check, especially during particularly stressful semesters. Since my prompter seems to like one word summaries, I’ll leave my readers with this:

Think. If you’re miserable or frustrated or confused or just struggling to be happy, think things through. You don’t have to do it alone. You could perhaps think out loud with a friend, but don’t dwell on it. I promise you’ll be a lot happier.

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