The Mess I Like to Call Happiness
It was the second day of spring. No cloud in the sky. The sun blindingly beautiful.
On a five mile run I took in the sight of my childhood home, the trees surrounding it that had grown taller over the years, and the annoying dogs that barked at me every time I passed the house across the street (how long do French terriers live again?).
My run was a quick relief from the busy day I had been having that Sunday. I had a rough draft due for an editor. I had to work on data for my internship. And the next day I was starting my new full-time job. I was exhausted. So I went inside and took a selfie to describe this mess of my life on Instagram. The mess I like to call happiness.
See, a few months prior to this day, I had a simple life. That is, one job, my own place, and a lot of time in the world to rebuild my life the way I wanted it to be in a new city. But I wasn't happy; I was bored and miserable.
I told a friend later how being busy gave me a reason for living. She corrected me, saying, "Being productive is what gave you a reason for living."
She was right.
In a sense, I could only remember living my life half-heartedly, waiting for the climax of my life to build up to the moment when Prince Charming would come sweep me off my feet, and I'd live happily ever after in a house with a white picket fence and some kids. Must have been nice for some, but by 24, I knew that dream was not for me when I didn't have it at the age my parents did.
Only by grappling for reasoning behind why my life wasn't playing out the way I wanted it to did my life all of a sudden become mundane and depressing.
Instead of "Yes, I can!" I was thinking, "Wait, Barbara, who is a year younger than me, got the guy. Where is the love of my life?"
Did I mention Barbara pushed out a kid already, and the love of her life let himself pack on fifty pounds and works a job he hates? Talk about a dream come true. I realized on my five mile run that Sunday afternoon that all I had dreamed, even though it wasn't ever in my plan to be single in my mid-twenties and just starting my career, had come true in a different way than I had ever expected.
As writer Fay Weldon said, "Nothing happens, and nothing happens, and then everything happens.” I can attest that this is true.
Going from a job I didn't favor to working a 40-plus hour work week between two jobs that I was passionate about, I realized I was given a different calling than my friend Barb.
By investing my time and myself into the projects that I was passionate about, I soon saw how my life had meaning in helping the less fortunate. A calling Barb didn’t have, but that was okay that she didn’t. She had her calling, and I had mine.
I was told that I could be whatever I wanted to be when I grow up, and I recently realized what I wanted to be: not the wife, not the mother, not the counselor. I wanted to be fully committed to something with no regrets and without looking back. I wanted to be happy and have a passion for something.
With my epiphany on that first spring day, I came to find that maybe everything was happening because for once I was content and was willing to put my whole heart into something without waiting for something better to come along. For once I wasn't chasing after a dream. I was saying yes to what was in front of me, and going after it one step at a time. Lo and behold, I found my career path working with people with special needs.
A journey that had started years before I even realized it was a calling.
Something that I would not change for the world.
And finally something I could be happy with.