The last time I remember being happy with not a weight in the world was almost 3 years ago, July 2015, when I was on a beach in Bali watching the sun dip into the ocean and the sky settle from a bright glowing orange to a deep violet.
As I sat there on the sand feeling the soft waves crash against my feet, I felt peaceful and content.
I didn’t have much but I had everything I needed. And, for the first time in my life, I felt that I was going just where I wanted to and that all the different paths I took were finally converging.
At the end of 2015, 6 months after I left Bali, everything turned around and I couldn’t have felt more lost. I was 1/3 of the way to finishing my dietetic internship, 1/3 of the way to the life and career I always imagined but I couldn’t have felt unhappier.
You can read more about it here, but in summary, I forgot the things that were most important to me: the things I loved about living life and the things that I loved about myself. Most days I drown in it, trying to figure out why I feel this way and whether I’ll ever feel ok again. Some days, I float and feel invincible for a split second before I sink again. I’m working on resurfacing.
The great thing (yes, there is a positive) about this is that feeling this way myself has allowed me to truly empathize and resonate with others who are going through similar motions.
The scariest thing is, I can’t rebuild who I was, I can only rediscover and create who I will be. I don’t know what that will look like yet but I have a feeling this will be a lifelong question. I’ll be lost and found over and over again.
Trying to find my place in life and this world
Trying to focus on what I have versus what I am missing
Trying to be at peace with what is done and moving forward
Trying to let go of what I assume others think of me and what they really think
Trying to not overthink every. single. little. thing
To dull the internal voice that is always telling me that I’m never enough, I immersed myself into working as much as I could. I limited the free time that lent to negative thoughts. I worked on the weekends in addition to my basically full time weekday job. And in the evenings, I baked away into the early morning hours to cater desserts for special events. I poured into my work, I focused my conversations on the other person, and I became known as the light, goofball dietitian who consumes copious amounts of chocolate. Work was my escape. I was truly myself then.
For a while, I was so distracted and so tired that my mind didn’t have time to wander into negativity. But in the evenings, when I wasn’t working or baking and my mind wasn’t occupied, the thoughts would swirl in and send me spiraling down. Everything around me would spin. And I would lay paralyzed until I find my breath and my feet again.
When I feel, I feel immensely.
When I’m happy, I dance, I don’t walk.
When I’m sad, I pour, I don’t weep.
When I’m angry, I boil and bubble over.
But over the past 2 years, I’ve been numbing myself from the all-consuming bleakness.
And in the process, closing myself off to feeling the good: joy, pride, serendipity.
“This”, whatever it is (quarter life crisis maybe?) has taken away two years of my life. Two years of missed little things; sunsets, laying on the grass, listening to the breeze stream in through open windows.
Two years of me disconnecting with my partner, my family, and my friends.
Two years of my early 20s that I will never get back as I head into my mid 20s.
I’ve finally realized that enough is enough. Life goes by too quickly to be stuck in “this”.
I’m tired, honestly exhausted, of feeling this way.
But, I don’t regret the time that I’ve spent in it. This time spent on introspection has helped me realize what matters most to me in life.
Little by little the weight is shedding off and I’m feeling lighter every day.
My wish is to find little joys in every single day. There is no destination, because it’s not an end goal. Being happy is a way of life.