This post has been written for International Day of Happiness.
When I was a little girl I used to wonder what was beyond the happiness I had then. I remember the time my face lit up when I got a purple bike for Christmas or the time before that when I had this huge Crayola board. Let’s take a look through my life.
Chapter 1: Primary school
Happiness was playing with water and sand in primary school. Thinking you were so artistic with paint when you used to do that thing where you splatter it everywhere with different colours. Learning how to read, write, and listen. Learning a bit of Italian. Understanding what polite mannerisms are.
Being the kid that enjoyed maths and English. Running around carelessly in the playground. And then running to your parents at the school gate. Getting new stationery and cute little outfits when mum or the grandparents would take me shopping. Oh and how can I forget the endless amount of sweets at the pick ‘n’ pix?!
The school holidays were so exciting as you got spend lots of time with your friends and family. This continues into high school.
And I was still the aiming high kind of person. I wanted to work as hard as I could to get the best grades I could. Happiness at this point had more downfalls than it did in primary school.
Chapter 2: High school
The worst thing to happen to me during primary school was losing my granny. So I thought the hardest thing about high school but be difficult GCSE exams. Nope. I like to think I handled them pretty well. Grandad passed away in the second year of high school. You lose one and you think the other will stay forever. If that was a dream then what are you supposed to do when someone tells you to chase your dreams? Little did I know things were about to get harder.
High school brought bullies into my life. Not just to see it happening to others but to myself. I thought seeing others go through torture was horrible. It changes you as a person. You feel weak. Everything they do and say stays with you forever. You even start to wonder if the words they use describe you correctly. Or if you deserve things being thrown at you. It turns out I was the strong one and they were weak. They couldn’t do anything on their own but I got through the rest of high school with them being around. I stuck to working hard, enjoying time with friends and accepting that not everyone can accept you.
To be honest, I knew that from the get-go. When the girls from the popular groups are superior to you. I remember my first week in year 7 (the first year of high school). One girl from my brother’s year was telling me what length to have my skirt. And another girl was telling her to leave me alone. I don’t think I wore a skirt from then on. I stuck to a pair of black pants and a white blouse.
I think about this one time my I was heading over to the toilets in the annex building alone. A boy in my year walked past and looked at me. He turned around and said, are you in my year? I said yeah followed by answering with my name. From the large group of everyone who was ‘known’, someone stopped and took the time to see who I was. They weren’t nasty or judgemental – simply friendly.
Those kind of people would always say hi passing, cheer on the relay run at sports day, and had a laugh with you in class, they were the good moments. By year 10, I was happy again. I ignored everything that had ever got me down, started to put my hand up in class again, and walked with my head held high.
Chapter 3: College
I used to wonder who was going to hold my hand as I was getting older? Knowing that my parents will be there for me inevitably was sure. But what happens now?
Before you know it, you’re an adult. You see your brothers getting older and you think oh no, it means this is happening to me too. You might think you can’t wait to be 18 but your mind just has no idea what the future holds. Being a 16-year-old was difficult enough. Going through that stage where you think a boy might like you which can be exciting but doesn’t last very long. Perhaps college will bring new friendships?
I was so happy that it reunited me with people from primary school. I always thought that some people were shocked to see that I knew certain people. But I did. College was so hard. You gain more independence. But oh my, there’s a whole lot of hard work. Sometimes I would get the grades I wanted and other times I didn’t.
Your first 3 months of college can be spent as someone who’s challenging who you are. Getting into a relationship with someone you barely knew but it was one of those things that happens because it happens. Trying to keep a hold on where friendships are going. Coming to terms with the fact that some people can just be strange or choose not to be associated with you. The “Oh I think a boy likes me” comes back into play just when you think you can’t be liked again. But then you realise you’re not like the girls you see photos of on Facebook or around in general. Being pretty or fun enough was hard. You’ve done a few things you probably wouldn’t have expected yourself to. But then you’re tired of trying to make things happen so you decide to live.
You realise that you were stuck in-between trying to be yourself and also trying to follow the crowd. That doesn’t work for you.
Chapter 4: From then onwards
All in all, university didn’t really live up to my expectations. Although the day of graduation feels surreal when you’re up on the stage and realise that 3 years of your life have gone by so fast. In July, another 3 years will have passed since that day. You don’t even have to worry who’s watching you in the audience or in the photos. You know they’ll be in your life forever. Perhaps you won’t stay close to all of your uni friends. But you’ll keep in touch with one or two for sure. Your group of friends was small for a reason.
Again, like college, university challenged you. You don’t like to look back on certain things. Everyone has opinions. You hate drama but seem to have caught up in it at times. People won’t always see why you did what you did but you stand for everything because you know. That’s what matters. This chapter stays small even though it’s the biggest part because you look back.
The pieces of the puzzle fit together
Earlier in your life, you wondered what was going to happen next. Well, here’s where everything comes together and you see it happening. Someone who has been on your path several times is heading in the same direction with you. There were three key stages in your lives prior to this. Primary school, the summer holidays before you began college, and the first year of college itself (their second). You think that after they’re not there not year or so, that’s it. Just like everything else that passes.
A simple funny little message from you and your contact is back. Of all the people in his life, he hasn’t forgotten about you. You remember the first time he ever complimented you. It turns out that the time apart was a very small part of your lives. As we got closer, I was frightened that it would all be taken away. I didn’t think he was beginning to feel what I did. But let’s look back on some key signs I may have overlooked at the time.
- Your brother would choose to ask him “Where’s Tash?” on nights out
- The look in his eyes when he thought you were close to somebody else hits you
- After all, he’s kept you safe for a while now
- He’s even lifted you over puddles in the rain
- He’s always there when you need someone to talk to
- He meant every single word you never wanted to believe for a very long time ago
It’s him – he’s your happiness
You open your heart up to him. All of the mistakes you think you’ve ever made. From all the things he doesn’t already know, you tell him everything. That’s when everything falls together. It’s the second time round (that I was aware of) that he leant in to kiss me. Last time, I bit his lip and I was so nervous! In a room full of people, we just looked at each other and he held me. This time, I just knew it was meant to be.
The walks home at 2am in the morning. Holding my hand for the first time walking down the road. No care in the world other than the happiness in our faces and our hearts.
Ever since, he’s held my head up whenever I’ve been down. Wiped my tears away and turned them into smiles. Held my hand and travelled on so many adventures together. My biggest and most exciting adventure. This is where my happiness lies now and forever. The best decision I ever made because it’s lead to the greatest happiness.
To the people who think “It’ll change when you live together” you’re wrong. When you’ve waited so long for that moment and took the time to make your relationship what it is, nothing changes who you are together. We waited for each other for so long, we know that nothing in the world can faze us.
Who are you thinking about on International Day of Happiness?