2016 was the year I found my happiness. Blissful happiness.
Did I fall in love? No. Did I get my dream job? No (I did get promoted though and I do love my job at the moment)…. One specific event did not ignite this spark. This year was not an easy year when you dig into what was actually going on with me. My cat, Sarafina died unexpectedly and tragically – my mom was in and out of the hospital/nursing home/wheelchair bound, and still is – and let’s not forget, I’ve been grieving the death of my best friend Tim, who passed away last October. So, why the hell am I happy?
This year I started reading that book about minimalism and “being tidy” (yes, the one they made fun of on Gilmore Girls – “The Life‑Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo”). It’s actually a very good read. When my father died four years ago, I was left with everything he owned, and I have needed help in getting rid of what I didn’t want or need. I’ve put it off for so long because it literally gives me anxiety. My dad was essentially the most important person to me besides my mom, and just being around his possessions is enough to send me into a panic attack. I needed help. My grandma bought me this book in hopes I would get rid of all the stuff I didn’t need.
Ms. Kondo encourages you to get rid of material possessions if they do not bring you happiness. I found myself adapting that process into something a bit more profound. Slowly throughout the year, I began discarding anything and anyONE who was taking away from my happiness. I started to realize that I knew a lot of individuals, and I had a ton of friends, but that I didn’t feel joy knowing every single one of them. This was a concerning issue to me.
I found myself in a position where I was the one who decided my fate of happiness. I finally understood that I am the one in charge of ME. Nothing and no one can control my happiness, EXCEPT ME.
So I started to follow Ms. Kondo’s guidelines:
IF IT DOESN’T MAKE YOU HAPPY, GET RID OF IT.
I’m sure to some of you, that sounds cold and harsh. But if you think about it, why would you hang on to something (or someone) that doesn’t give you absolute and pure joy? What a waste of my energy and theirs!
I changed who I hung around. I changed what I did on a daily basis. I only surrounded myself with people who encouraged me to be the best version of myself.
One October evening, I was driving home from work, down my usual route, and I felt overcome with joy. I thought, “Wow. I’m truly happy right now.” And I smiled. It feels GREAT to be happy.
Then I paused and I thought, “Why am I happy?,” and I thought of everything I had done throughout the year. I thought of all the shedding and cleansing I had accomplished.
The first half of my 20s was definitely an era of tribulations and loss. To finally “move on” in a sense from all of that, and to rid anything that holds me back from being my best, is a wonderful feeling and accomplishment.
I’m ecstatic that I found my inner happiness, and that I was able to do it all on my own. Who knows what 2017 has in store, and what other discoveries I will find.
I hope that if you haven’t found your inner happiness yet, you find a way to do such – because damn, it feels great.
– xoxo, Amber