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(Stock image).

(Stock image).

By Antaraa Anandan, Neuqua Valley

Whenever I was asked as a kid what was the one thing I wanted when I grew up, I always answered, “To be happy.” It’s probably one of the most cheesy, cliched answers in the book but that was always my answer. I thought I was red in a sea of blue. That one kid that didn’t put down “A big house” or “A million dollars” on her paper. In a way, this hasn’t really changed. Happiness does sound pretty great. But as I’ve grown older I’ve become extremely doubtful of its existence or ability to exist in our lives I should say. A million dollars seems more plausible than pure happiness. We all think we’re happy at some point. There’s a smile on our face and no doubts crowd our minds. The time of our life really. But turn the clock to 14 hours later. You could have coffee spilled on your brand new suit, a faulty alarm clock that makes you late for an important meeting, and no gas in your car. Now, where’s that smile?

To me, bliss exists but happiness means no holes in your life, atop a mountain of goodness and sugar. And when does that ever happen to anyone? I’m not unhappy or depressed or living a pitiful life filled with tears and tissues sprayed across my room. I simply exist and am working towards something in my future. Do something that makes you happy they say. But working late at night until 2 am on your dream project doesn’t sound like happiness to me. It sounds like it kinda sucks. But it’s rewarding and it’s challenging. This is what I want out of my life. It isn’t about being happy and smiling throughout but this deep sense that what you’re doing is right and meaningful. Why do I need to be put into this box of being unhappy just because I verbally don’t say I’m happy. I think I would know my own emotions. We have this fake facade of happiness we all seem to be striving towards, making meticulous steps to reach a goal that keeps taking ten steps forward as we make just one. I am smiling and laughing as I spend time with my friends discussing that stupid pun one of them made the other day or the embarrassing story that occurred on the way to school. But to me, I am not happy. I am quite blissful. This momentary spark, the flash of yellow and gold that doesn’t quite become a fire, is enough for me to be satisfied. I feel so many emotions at once, all contributing to my successes and failures. But not one of them fits the definition of happiness to me. Why must we be sad if we’re not happy? Why must we say don’t worry be happy when we could say don’t worry be calm, intent, concerned, passionate… blissful. I think being in high school itself has been such a huge contributor of this deep chasm between being happy and unhappy. I’ve seen my friends and family consistently describe themselves as these two emotions more than anything. It’s natural and it’s involuntary. However, we have created this mindset where things are completely black and white. It just becomes confusing when they’re not.

As a senior in high school, I find myself meddling in puddles of gray, contemplating whether emotions make me or I make emotions. I tell myself that someday far down the road, I’ll be sitting in a rocking chair looking back at my life and realizing that now, now I’m happy. But for now, that rocking chair is sticks of wood waiting to be put together and I’m at peace.

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About Antaraa Anandan

just anotha brown girl navigating through life

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