“I decided who I wanted to be, and that is who I am.” -Gabrielle Chanel
Recently, I was talking with a friend whom I love very dearly. It is her first year in college, and she chose to go out of state. She is quite a few hours from her home, and much farther from her family and friends than she is comfortable with. While texting her, she was telling me all about her situation and about how lonely she has become. She is in an uncomfortable place. She misses her hometown and the people there; college is a whole different ball game than her time in high school had been. Throughout the conversation she repeated thoughts that all corresponded with the idea that she is sad and doesn’t want to be there… she is miserable. I did the best that I could to comfort her in that moment, but went on to think more about her words after our conversation had ended.
Everyone goes through different times in their life where they cannot control their current situation. In fact, many things in our life are far from our reach. Maybe you don’t like going to school everyday, you aren’t happy with your body, or you are allergic to the one food that smells more delicious than your grandmother’s homemade apple pie…these are all uncontrollable factors. Now, before I continue, you also need to realize that there are some situations that you do have control over. You aren’t happy taking guitar lessons? You have control over that. You can tell your parents how you feel about playing that instrument, and cease to take the lessons. When you do have control, you need to realize that and take advantage of that situation instead of making excuses. However, I am looking to address just the opposite of that today: What to do when you can not be in control over your current situation.
So, what does one do when they cannot be the one making all the decisions? When you cannot just pick up and move on during the current season of life you’re in that you’re not enjoying? When you can’t just decide that you are ‘done’ with whatever it is that is making you unhappy? Well…perhaps you can’t change your situation, but you can change your mindset. If you can’t just change the fact that you’re not happy with your current height, for example, then, instead of moping around and being miserable with yourself, you need to find the positives to that feature and focus on them instead. For instance, how many spikes have you had in volleyball because you were tall enough to do so? Or how many last packages of Oreos were you able to reach on the top shelf in Target that you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to see? You need to decide that despite where you are in life, that you want to be happy and joyful amongst that otherwise unjoyful situation. YOU MUST FIND YOUR HAPPY. I cannot stress that idea enough: FIND YOUR HAPPY. It is like when you were about to get a shot as a child and the doctor told you to imagine yourself in your favorite place…except this time, you need to make your happy place the real deal in your current reality instead of a figment of your imagination. As I mentioned before, life is out of your control. That means that if it is raining, you can either be sad about it, or you can throw on your mudboots and go dance in the puddles. In the example of my friend and her college situation, she can’t drop out, nor switch colleges. So what would my advice be to her? To decide that she wants to make the best of her college experience; that she needs to find the happy that is hiding there and chase after it. She is not close to her family, but she can call them and text them daily. And because she can’t always see them, that makes her visits that much more special and exciting…something she can be looking forward to! She may not have many friends at college, but that means she can practice making some! Or she can choose to take this time to build the relationships she does possess with some people there, she can choose to build the relationship with her own self, and maybe she can choose to build her relationship with God. She may not have her mother’s cooking every night, but she can explore new restaurants and foods, and maybe learn to cook on her own.
What is the absolute best thing about any negative situation? That there are always positives aspects within them. Sometimes, you may need to search for them, but they are there for you! We only have the here and the now…so why do people choose to mope in their current situations and just sit and wait for the future to hurry up? You are wasting your life, letting time life by, waiting for a day and a time that may never come! Instead of putting your life on hold, and wasting the gift that is today, start living. Your life may not currently be ideal, but you can make it quite a bit more ideal than you may think. You just need to make the most of what you already have. So treat today, and everyday, as though it is Thanksgiving by naming off everything you’re thankful for RIGHT NOW and then focusing on them (if only all of our meals everyday could be like Thanksgiving meals as well!). Trust me, I know that there will still be hard days! You will never escape the reality that is life, and living life means that not everyday is going to be the best day ever. However, today I encourage you to do your best to make each and everyday as worth living as you possibly can by deciding that you want to enjoy them and then doing it by finding your happy in the midst of the unhappy period. You can do this, I know that you can. You can be as strong and as capable as you believe. I believe in you, and I hope that you believe in you, too. Life is beautiful, and time is fleeting, so please, don’t waste what God has given you.