Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Happiness Myth

<lass="page layoutArea" title="Page 1">

Often, moments of insight don’t come from reading Tolstoy and listening to Bach. A few nights ago I was watching the cheesarific movie “P.S. I Love You,” and it got me thinking about things I generally don’t like to dwell on. I don’t know why it spoke to me…I have little in common with it’s premise. I’m not a widow mourning the loss of her hot Irish husband, but I’ve learned that often moments of insight don’t make sense. These past few weeks have been hard for me, and they’ve probably been hard for some of you. I’m a big believer that the reason college is so important is because it teaches you about yourself. However, learning who your are isn’t as easy as it sounds. This is especially true when who you are and what you are expected to do don’t go hand and hand. In college, it is easy to let your life be ruled by expectations. It is easy to look at your future and choose to follow the path with a clear beginning, middle, and end. However, life isn’t straightforward. No matter how hard we try and no matter how hard we plan, we will always fall short of someone’s expectation… and that is perfectly okay.

While watching Hilary Swank’s character not just mourn the loss of her husband, but the moments of happiness she choose to overlook while striving for a perfect, “complete” life, I realized that I may be heading down the same path. I may be heading down a path with just enough room for a clear beginning, middle, and end, but with not enough room for happiness. So, I decided to make some promises to myself, and while these promises are concerning my own struggles, I know that some of you will relate.

No one is alone in their struggles. You are not as misunderstood as you think you are. If you reach out to life, someone will be there to take your hand.

Staying in on a Friday night can be great. So can eating an entire roll of cookie dough. Doing what makes your happy doesn’t always have to be productive or dignified.

Getting one more ‘A’ and getting that internship won’t make your happier. If you don’t like yourself, nothing you achieve will ever be enough.

“No one can make your feel inferior without your consent,” Eleanor Roosevelt. Don’t do something just because your are afraid of seeming less than.

People who constantly talk about their “successes” are really just reaching our for a friend.

Although getting reassurance from parents, teachers, and friends can be great, the only reassurance your really need is from yourself.

Only take the risks you wish to take.

If you are not an academic, don’t be an academic. If you are not an artist, don’t be an artist. If you are not a scientist, don’t be a scientist. Sometimes, it really is that simple.

The only true measure of success is how happy you are at the end of your life. Awards collecting dust on a forgotten shelf and money sitting unneeded in a bank should not be what defines you. They will not be what flashes before your eyes when you die.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,’’ Maya Angelou.

Don’t lose yourself in the process of trying to perfect yourself. A universally perfect you doesn’t exist.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *