By: Jaclyn Chua, OMS-II
I’ve been staring at my notebook wondering how to address a topic that is so innately personal and yet so commonplace. This article’s potential to test my perception of my own happiness and everyone else’s is why, I suppose, I hesitated so much to write it. Should I treat it as something simple, or do I admit that being happy is actually quite complicated? Just a few days ago, I was sitting on a Barnes & Noble floor in the self-help section which promises to hold my hand as I learn to define happiness. Will perusing through this book bring me a new quote that will make today worth living more than the others? For all I know, writing this article is part of my search.
It is so much easier to write an article on a particular event or experience rather than tackling something like how to live life, not to mention one that is exploding with happiness. However, it was this exact thought process that inspires the rest of this article: Life is one big event, and it is an experience. When viewed from this angle, it is the biggest event you will ever attend, and it seems to be the only experience truly worth having.
Instead of over-analyzing past failures or even anticipating future ones, a focus on having overcome any setbacks is more powerful. Accomplishments should not be belittled and imperfections nurtured. Being medical students, the desire to plan and neatly organize academic-life may inadvertently overflow into all aspects of life. We allow life to bully us, and we accept this victimization. Unfortunately, as much as we try to strangle it into submission, life does with us what it wishes. In spite of this, we are okay. There must be a process, and we need to learn how to simply trust it. It seems as though life already has its own plan for us; each new experience hopefully proves that it is paramount how and why you live life rather than obsessing over the where and when of it all.
When did happiness become an ultimate goal dictated by future achievements and expectations leaving it to be determined by “maybe someday’s” or “only if’s?” Perhaps life and happiness should no longer be treated as separate entities. There would be no other option than to be happy as life unavoidably continues.
I would be lying if I said I did not consult a few sources of inspiration in the form of my closest friends about their happiest moments to guide this article. Their memories ranged from embracing who they were without limitations to trying something new; these adventures served as a reminder of how adrenaline-packed yet peaceful life can paradoxically be.
And so, happiness is clearly self-defined, and I find comfort in that fact.