“Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes in the middle of nowhere you find yourself.” — Unknown
One of the most incredible things in life are the specific moments we have engraved in our minds during the times we were the happiest. My freshman year of college, walking home from class and opening my door to six of my best friends lying in my bed, drinking wine and eating popcorn. My junior year of high school, serving the game point of a conference title against our school’s biggest rival. Driving through the country roads back home, with the windows down and singing on the top of my lungs. Receiving my bid to Alpha Chi Omega. Getting accepted into Indiana University. Committing to travel the world at twenty years old. I always thought that a happy life was made out of all of these happy moments linked together, and that the days in between were just that: days in between. Unfortunately, some of the in between days are bad, heart wrenching days that also link together and you lose yourself waiting for another happy day.
The first few months of this year I found myself in a series of bad days that depreciated my living environment, effected my relationships and caused me to lose sight in the happy days. Over the summer, I spent occupied my time with work, my days were filled with excitement as I prepared to for my upcoming semester abroad and I was content with my in between days. Throughout September and October, I traveled to Germany, Spain, Ghana and South Africa and I experienced some of the happiest days of my life.
When the MV World Odyssey ported in Mauritius, I woke up and felt like it would be a beautiful day to hike a mountain, so I joined a field program going to Le Pouce, otherwise known as Thumb Peak, and headed out to adventure Mauritius. When we reached the foot of the mountain, the guides separated our group into those who wanted to reach the peak as fast as possible, and those who wanted to take their time. Did I want to take my time? Yes. Am I too competitive to take my time, and did I choose to go up the mountain quickly despite my particularly amateur hiking skills? Absolutely. Five minutes into the hike, I was cursing under my breath, sweating profusely in the humid Mauritian air and wondering why I volunteered myself to do extensive physical activity. After about an hour and a half of a lot of determination and internal self-reasoning, we found ourselves rock climbing up to the peak of this mountain. As I stepped up and looked outward onto the island of Mauritius, I had the most cliché, movie-like moment about these so-called happy days I have preached about. As I stood on the top of this mountain, surrounded by people smiling ear to ear, soaked in sweat and walking around glowing with accomplishment, I realized that happy days are reminders, the in between days are your challenge and the bad days are your reassurance. In the middle of nowhere, on top of a mountain, on an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, I found some answers.
- The happy days in our lives are reminders of the life that we have been provided, and the beautiful facets of this life that we have created. The days that we sit back and appreciate the people we surround ourselves with, the places we have been, the feelings that we feel and the experiences we have been a part of in our lives. You find yourself being reminded of these blissful aspects when you’re laughing until you cry with your friends, sitting around a living room with your entire family or even standing alone, thousands of miles away on top of a mountain.
- The in-between days in our lives are to challenge yourself to seek more. Whether that means waking up early to watch the sunrise and reflecting on what you want to accomplish in the next day, week or month, finding a form of exercise that boosts your mood, prioritizing your time and your actions in order to be productive or even calling your mom every single day to ask about her day, and really listen instead. It’s a challenge to not let the days pass you by, but to be present and make the most out of the days that you are given.
- The bad days are your reassurance that perfection is not attainable, and as a human being, you are going to make mistakes. You are going to do worse on a test than you expected, you are going to lose a friend due to something that could have been fixed, you are going to be involved in drama that is irrelevant and you are going to be the toxic person in a situation. There are days when you feel like you are on top of the world, and there are days that you feel that you are under the world, being crushed by every weight that there is. These days are reassurance to you that there is more beyond this because you have experienced more. So, you pick yourself up, and you start small: you wake up early and watch the sunrise, you do exercise, you make a to-do list and you call your mom because it all comes full circle.
I explain this theory of days as though I know that this is true for everyone, and that this is a simple concept to introduce into your life, but the truth is, this was a sense of realization of my past year. I cannot speak for everyone, and nor will I ever be able to do so, but this past year started with me needing reassurance that everything was going to play out, then transitioned into crossing the days off as they went while waiting for something more and now, this year has played out into me, traveling the world and considering that it is no one else’s job to provide these answers for you, and sometimes you just find them.