WHEN YOU graduate from college, you think that the world is your oyster. After all, it is the beginning of the rest of your life.
Fast-forward to a year and a half later, and you realize that things just… changed.
It seemed to me that I blinked at the most inopportune time. One day, I was so sure that my life was going according to plan, and the next, I had no idea where I was supposed to go. Then I find myself here, 21 and nowhere near the perfect fairy tale I imagined.
It’s not that my life is a mess—it’s not. I am a mess, sure, but although I feel like I am having a temporary setback, in the end of this roller-coaster ride, I know I’ll be okay. I’ll get by with a little help of more than just my friends.
So many things have changed since I graduated, not necessarily for the better. I had to adjust to so many things: different environment, different people, and a whole new and different culture. The truth is that even though I seemed okay, I really wasn’t.
Sure, I had my first real breakup, and no matter how petty they are, matters of the heart always take a toll on all of us. I was still trying to get over that when something else happened (unrelated to the first thing) that made me accountable for an almost-death, for a split-second, in other people’s eyes. During my mourning period (from the breakup) and the moment of horrible realization that I have been such a dense, petty and self-absorbed person (from not knowing someone I’m close to was having problems), my best friend for six years practically smothered me in concern so that I could barely breathe, only to abandon me later, for reasons I am not sure I understand.
I wish that was all, but no, it wasn’t. It was just the beginning.
To those who knew about half of what I went through, it came as no surprise that I was spiraling into neardepression. I spent such a long time pretending to be okay, because even though I have my family and my friends, I was pretty sure they wouldn’t completely understand.
I had to pull myself together at some point. After all, happiness is a choice, and I chose to be happy. It’s easier said than done, but I wasn’t about to let sadness win. For that, I would have to have three things with me at all times:
Faith in my dreams. Despite the heavy drama of my bad soap-opera life, I can’t let past events take hold of me. If things are bad now, they will get better at some point, so I have to take the reins to make sure that my life won’t spiral out of control. Like every other young adult, I can honestly say that my life is just beginning, so I better make the most of it.
Work for that Eat, Pray, Love thing that I wanted to have. Learn French. Maybe I can write that best-selling novel that I have long wanted to write. Along the road, maybe I’ll find that one person who I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life with, if I haven’t found him already. If there’s anything that we all want to live for, it’s to see our dreams come true. I have to have faith that I will have my happily ever after, one day, someday.
Trust in myself. If there’s one thing that I learned from the events of the past year, it is that I have to trust in myself. Too many people give up on life too easily, and the sad part is, if only they looked deeper, they could have found out that they were stronger than they ever thought they were. If I didn’t get pushed, I never would have learned that there is strength in me that I had no idea was there. It wasn’t until I was ready to give up that I realized I was strong. I felt that life was slapping me left and right, but I managed to wipe away the tears, get up, and pretend that I was fine, because I not only had to be strong for me, I also had to be strong for someone else.
Sure, plenty of times, I wanted things to be just over and done with, yet I always found another ounce of fight left in me, so I fought—hard. I kicked and learned to swim with the current. I didn’t let overwhelming emotions drown me. Now, I’m pretty confident that I can go through whatever trial life will fling at me, and I will be okay.
Love in my heart. Sometimes, it’s not for the best, because sometimes love hurts in that rip-out-your-chest kind of way that makes you feel like you’re going to lose it. But to be able to feel that, and find it in yourself to still be willing to share part of you… that’s what makes you strong and, well, human.
Love is all around me; it always has been. I have an awesome family, a few solid groups of supportive friends, and a few years ago, when I hugged my Bible to my chest, I knew for certain that my God is real. If those people can love me, then I’m pretty sure I have more than enough room to carry a piece of love in my heart. There is always more than enough of it to go around. There’s already too much hurt, hatred, and sadness going around in this world, so every little piece of love counts. It is easier to live life without the heavy burden of negativity on our shoulders.
Faith. Trust. Love. I will have faith in my dreams, because happiness, for most of us, comes hand in hand with our versions of “happy ever after.” I will have to trust in myself, and I don’t have to be afraid, because I am stronger than I think, and I can lift the heavy load on my shoulders. Finally, I have to have love in my heart, because every bit of love counts in this world of suffering and emptiness, and there is always more than enough of it to go around if we just share our piece.
Aristotle said that happiness depends on ourselves.
With faith, trust, and love tucked safely in my pocket, I am going to choose the road to my happiness, because happiness is a choice, and I choose to be happy.
Maria Myka R. Bomediano, 21, is a junior copy editor at Author Solutions Inc.