Last week I posted this photo on FB (and Instagram…I’m totally addicted to Instagram)…
…and it was really fun to see all of the comments people left. Obviously, I like this picture. But the comments I liked the best weren’t about what I looked like on the outside, but about how people could tell I’m happy. I feel like you can’t fake that. And I wasn’t. I really am so happy with my life right now.
And since arriving in New York and seeing people I haven’t seen in a while, their reaction has been the same. I’ve received lovely compliments about how happy I look. Could there be anything better than that?
That’s not to say that there aren’t things I think I need to change (there are always things I think I need to change), or that it is all sunshine and butterflies (I just had a mini-breakdown about something totally ridiculous on Saturday night). But the reality is somehow, someway, over the past few years, I feel like I’ve figured a few things out.
The first, and most important, is that life is going to happen and I can choose to be a victim or not. And I am not a victim. Yes, crap things have happened to me in my life. Yes, my life is not exactly how I would want it to be if I had control over everything. But. But! I can choose how I react to what happens.
The second is that I can choose to do everything I can to make my life as good as it can possibly be in terms of the things that I can control. I may not have the exact things that I dreamed I would have when I was 16, but I have done the best I can with what I’ve been given and that’s something I can feel really good about.
The third thing is that friends and family are really what matters. I know that I’ve decide to spend the next who knows how long in Tokyo…on the other side of the world from most of my friends and all of my family, but I wouldn’t be able to do that if I didn’t have their support and know that they were there when I need them (and vice versa). And it has been so nice during this trip to be able to see so many friends and most of my immediate family (as of tomorrow night).
Fourth, I really believe that God wants me to be happy. And sometimes part of that happiness means going through hard things so that I can learn and grow. But if I choose to learn and grow from those hard things, I will be a better person for it. And I will have the confidence that comes from going through hard things and the ability to empathize with those in similar circumstances.
And finally (and maybe most importantly) on those days when all else fails, I can always think of someone who deserves that last brownie more than I do. And sometimes that’s what it takes.