the past 604,800 seconds

Since I started blogging back in April, this has been the longest break I've taken. It was only a little bit over a week, but it was a huge one for me. 

I haven't been in a great place mentally for a month or so. It's up and down, some days I'll feel normal, and others I'm in the dumps. One of the bright sides of this though, is that I've been thinking a lot. Primarily about happiness, and how to be happier

Recent feelings
Most of my unhappy feelings stem from feeling alone. Previously, I wrote a long, angsty post about how I felt, but it didn't feel right to post. It was one of those things where it's therapeutic to write, but after it's done, you don't want to ever look at it again. I'm also a little scared that if I read it, or think about it too much, I'll go back to the negative mindset I was in while writing. 

The short version: I feel like I don't have many friends I truly connect with. I am by no means "antisocial" or "alone", I just don't feel alive and truly happy with the people I interact with on a daily basis. While all are lovely people, I strive for deeper relationships that go beyond asking each other for schoolwork help or for the time. 

I haven't had one of those long talks where you just let everything out and talk for ages in such a long time, and I miss it

In my social circles, I feel easily replaced, like an outsider added in as a second thought. While this may not be too terrible for some, it's difficult for me as I used to be part of a tight knit trio, where things I said or what I thought mattered. 

I carried more weight, and I felt like I could depend on my friends. 

It was terrifying. It was difficult for me to snap out of my self-pity funk, and I could barely concentrate on anything. Even getting started or feeling motivated to do anything was more difficult than going outside and voluntarily exercising

The only STEM field I'd be interested in
After a considerable amount of moping and tears, I got to being a bit more productive. We'd recently begun discussing psychology in English as prep for a book we're reading, and how the human mind works is fascinating. The chances of my being interested in other analytical fields such as engineering or chemistry are slim, but psychology is a possibility

Not just because I want to sit in a comfy chair all day and steeple my fingers while saying "I see. And how does that make you feel?" all day. Although it's tempting. 

When I read about experiments or theories, it's a bit like reading a horoscope. Obviously much more accurate and scientifically grounded though. I can see bits of pieces of the principles and rules in myself or those around me. It's like philosophy, but more tangible and easier to observe. 

My happiness, my rules (how cheesy!)
A slight digression - the Stanford Prison Experiment and the Milgram Experiment truly grabbed my attention, in a horrifying, car crash type of way. I wanted to stop reading about it, and I couldn't believe everyday people were capable of such cruel things, but at the same time, I wanted to know more. I wonder how the Stanford Prison Experiment movie is - if anyone's seen it, let me know.

Anyways, I started thinking about how silly it was to need my happiness to depend on an outside factor, something I can't fully control. I want to have the ability to be independent, in all aspects, and if I need to depend on others for something as basic as my happiness, how could I get through life?

But then, I couldn't think of any solid reasons or ways to achieve happiness from within. It seems like you'd have to be happy about simply being, and that would be a bit of a stretch for me to achieve. At least in the next few months. 

Doing my part
So with a bit of a compromise, I'm going to start actively finding happiness in the smaller things, in the simple things, in the non-human things.

If I don't need to wait around for a Prince Charming, I certainly don't need to wait around for happiness to arrive in an extravagant form. 

I'm also going to try and ask my friends and peers better questions and create more interesting small talk. Sometimes opening up and talking about things can be hard or feel out of place, but I think it's incredibly important to not bottle it up. I would have stayed at my lowest point had I not written about it, though I would have much preferred someone to sit and talk about it with me.

Learning from my recent experience, I want to always be there for people who would rather talk than write. Because if I really wanted to know about the weather, I could just Google it, right?

What next?
While it seems like I've gotten over the worst, I'm not completely myself either. I worry that I'll slip back down, and this time it'll be for longer and the climb back up will be more difficult. 

All of my thoughts above are part of a larger dialogue I've been having with myself about whether I should expect so much from my friends, and if the vision I have of "true friendship" is skewed by pop culture and the sociable personas presented by my peers. It all seems to personal to write about, but maybe I'll put it in my podcast. If I ever get that up and running. 

After the bad and the ugly, finally the good
To end on a positive note, a list of my happy things this week:

1. I got up early at 8am and powered through my checklist. By noon, I'd already finished my English essay, Art History reading, and cleaned up my room. I thought about getting up even earlier, but as I regularly get up at 6 for school, I thought the weekend warranted some rest. 

2. While I was selling photos at a fair yesterday, an incredibly awkward but somewhat attractive guy asked me for my number. I hadn't expected it at all, as I'm still getting over a cold, and a runny, stuffed up nose is not too attractive, but it was a nice pick me up. He actually complimented my laptop, saying it was "very unique and sleek" - it's just a grey Mac Pro!

3. I'm finally back on the blog! I have a few meet ups and photos scheduled, so hopefully you'll be hearing from me more. I'm still gathering ideas though, and would love to hear your input on what you'd like to see next

Thank you for sticking with me during the week that just wouldn't end. 

Have you ever felt really low? How'd you get out of it? What are some happy moments of yours? What would you like to see next on the blog?




pssst! the title inspiration? “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

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