Do More (of What Makes You Happy)

Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

Think of when you are most relaxed–it is usually when you are pretty happy with what you are doing. For me, that is basking in the sun on a quiet beach, writing and reading the day away. It might also be hiding under a pile of blankets with hot tea while my family plays Christmas music in the kitchen. More than anything, though, it is being who you are.

There are a few tensions in my life. I carry many identities, you see: I am a full-time student, aspiring writer, part-time activist, and part-time worker. I am also the older sister and the oldest child; the trailblazer and the traveler; the daughter and the significant other. From all sides, there is a gentle tug to conform more to something I ‘should’ be.

Historically, I have had a bad habit of trying to make the people around me happy, while also trying to make society happy. For example, I went to a college I didn’t particularly enjoy to save money, and also where I was pressured to pursue studies I did not care for. Eventually I found something that worked for me, but there is still that pressure to make others happy.

This morning I broke it all down. I am trying to be the perfect student, daughter, feminist, and partner. I keep forgetting that I am part of the happiness equation, too. So, this morning, I designed a new writing project to work on, something to put my energy into. Essentially, something to make me happy and productive!

I think I may still be trying to appease to others, though these days it is far less so than it once was. I am also in a transitional part of my life, and a lot more decisions are entirely on my shoulders to make. That I am definitely not used to! It is scary to now have all these prospects ahead; there is more pressure to make the ‘right’ choices.

Here’s to making choices that allow us to pursue more of what makes us happy, more days reading and writing on the beach, more time spent with the family at home. I would rather relax and enjoy the ride than feel the tension that takes root in an uncertain future.

-Marta

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