When I was 24, being happy meant meeting new people.
I was sad and stuck.
I had two close friends. They both left me that year.
Rumors were spreading about me from a group of people.
I felt less of a human.
For two people to leave me at once… I am probably not such a good friend, I thought.
I became angry with the world. No matter what I do, I won’t be good enough.
So I forgot my manners, forgot about kindness, forgot about being human.
I pointed my middle finger to a driver after he honked at me for not exiting into a roundabout quickly enough.
I drove off, but he went after me. He sped to catch up with me. But speed was my game so I drove faster. After spinning around the roundabout five times, even he got tired of me and went on with his own life.
F*ck off then. That’s what you should have done earlier, I muttered, alone in my car.
‘I don’t want to make any more friends. It hurts.’
I cried on my way to work, then wiped my tears before I went inside the office.
I did not smile. I did not want to talk to anyone.
What’s the point of being nice? I thought, you just hurt yourself in the end. I replayed the hurtful words in my head. Over and over again like a broken tape.
One night my sister came to me to ask me for advice.
I told her, ‘Life sucks. Accept it,’ and then I went to sleep.
That year, I did meet a lot of people.
People I liked, didn’t like, found interesting, boring, wanted to idolize and those who disgusted me.
But no matter how much I liked them, I told myself, ‘Don’t be too close.’
People were like fire to me – they fascinated me, but I felt if I got too close I would get burned.
So I crafted an image for everyone I met that year. I wanted them to get to know the character I was acting as, but not me.
This way, even if they did become close to my image, they would not get close to me.
It felt safe.
Until it felt fake.
It was almost April…
I was driving to work again when it hit me.
‘It’s 2014 and almost April.’
On my fingers, I counted the number of months I had been mulling over something that had happened the year before.
Too many months had passed and I had no memory of enjoying my life.
What a waste, I thought.
I stopped thinking about everything that made me sad that day.
I went home
I went home and looked at everything I had.
Everything that makes me happy is right here. I just didn’t see it. But if I continued to overlook the good things in my life, one day I will definitely lose them all.
I stopped feeling sad.
So, how to be happy?
Find it in yourself, not in someone or something.
Not even in travel, books, or anything you love outside of yourself.
While these may provide you temporary relief, lasting happiness always comes from within.
The moment you decide to let go of what has hurt you, you are free.