Am I Happy? Yes. Very.

My favourite photos are those that capture candid, happy moments with friends. Photo by Rocel Junio.

My favourite photos are those that capture candid, happy moments with friends. This was in Zambales (in the Philippines) with this superwoman, Jen Aquino. Photo by Rocel Junio.

There are so many things going on today: it’s the UN International Day of Happiness, the first day of spring, and Macaron Day. (Plus, there was the total solar eclipse this morning — the only one occurring this year — but I slept so late and didn’t wake up to witness it.) And it’s good ol’ Friday! There are definitely many reasons to be happy today.

So many things can be and have been said about the pursuit of happiness. My personal favourite, though, is from an email newsletter from the incredibly inspiring Rachel MacDonald of In Spaces Between. She shared that each year her husband chooses happiness as the “yardstick he measures his life up against”, and wrote:

…Shooting your arrow in the direction of happiness isn’t about supressing or hiding away the other parts of yourself — the messier molecules, the vulnerable bits, the fearful, anxious depths of your being. It’s simply about choosing a non-negotiable standard for your life — a guiding light, which is in this particular case, feeling happy — and knowing that when there’s a big gaping divide between your Ideal and your Reality, it’s time to dig deeper. 

The newsletter wasn’t even so much about happiness as it was about finding “your own measure of fulfilment”, as Rachel put it, but something clicked into place when I read that piece. I loved the idea of a “non-negotiable standard for [one’s] life” and happiness seemed to be a brilliant choice for that benchmark. Do what makes you happy, and do away with what doesn’t — in other words, you define and create your own happiness.

After reading that newsletter, I decided to make “happy” my goal as well. I wasn’t always successful. There were stretches when I was in a rut, when I felt lost and stuck. There were external factors (I’m looking at you, winter) that made it difficult, sometimes nearly impossible, to maintain a joyful outlook. But eventually the sun comes out, and before you know it, spring is in the air (either literally or figuratively).

Today — right here, right now — I am happy. I’m happy to be in London, to be standing strong at the end of the term, even though my job prospects in England are uncertain. I’m happy with the friends I have, both here and back home, even though they’re not that many; they are all I need and more than I deserve. I’m happy in my skin, happy with my body. I’m happy with my creative pursuits, especially my calligraphy. I’m happy with my new interests, like cooking and blogging. I’ve obviously yet to be a prolific blogger, but I’m working on it.

And I’m working on my future happiness as well. One of my goals is to land a job in Bristol, because I was on cloud nine the entire time I was there for a week-long work placement (more on that in a future post!). I fell in love with the city and I want to go back; I want to feel the way I did in Bristol — truly, madly, deeply happy to be there.

I’m genuinely very happy. It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t have to be and anyway I don’t think it can ever be. Life isn’t perfect after all. I think that’s what makes it such a satisfying adventure to create your own happiness, to choose who and what matter to you in this life.

Well, speaking of satisfying adventures, I’m heading out now to search for macarons and enjoy the first day of spring. Happy Happiness Day, folks!

Another happy photo, this time in Singapore reuniting with ex-colleague Za. Photo by Emily Yan

Another happy photo, this time in Singapore reuniting with ex-colleague Za. Photo by Emily Yan


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