“I’ll be happy later.”

Things have been interesting lately, to say the least. It’s the sum of little peculiarities that have formed a fascinating recent past for me. As I delve into my future moment by moment, the spontaneity of life still shocks me. From the encounters with intuition my friends and I have experienced lately (feeling like something would happen, and then having it happen soon after), to the random blessings along with the difficulties God throws down at me from above… the uncertainty is electrifying. 

In this whirlwind of experiences encompassing the past weeks, emotions have run high. Feelings of happiness and joy have been radiated through strong smiles and stomach-paining laughter, but other moments have consisted of anxious thoughts, an occasionally fearful mindset, and a thirst for the comfort of predictability. This spectrum of human emotion is undoubtedly a gift; it provides our lives with the contrast we unknowingly crave. We are sometimes challenged to overcome hardship, but we’re also given beautiful moments to remind us how incredible life is, along with the people and entities in it that fill our hearts with love every day.

That being said, I want to take a moment to focus on the lower half of the emotion spectrum: the less happy, more stressed, angry or sorrowful… the feelings that are mostly perceived as “negative.” In the midst of these less-than-positive emotions, it’s dangerously easy to cling to the negativity. Have you ever realized that it’s much easier to maintain a pessimistic mindset rather than an optimistic one? It’s much more difficult to be cheered up than it is to be brought down. 

We can apply this mindset to the bigger picture of life. Maybe you don’t agree with me, which is completely fine, but I ask you to think about the following. Do you ever find yourself saying anything similar to…?

“I’ll be happy when I’m finished with this test.”

“I’ll be happy tomorrow.”

“I’ll be happy in ten years when…”

I think we all say or think these things, to some degree, in some form, in one way or another. At least I’m certain that I do. I say that I’ll be happy later because I’m too preoccupied with the pessimism at hand. I make excuses in a particular moment because it seems that being happy isn’t possible when I’m flooded with an enormous amount of stress or anger. This isn’t a constant feeling — I’m generally an optimist… but even optimists have their moments of pessimism. A significant step to conquering pessimism is being a bit metacognitive, realizing how our thoughts and emotions are brewing in our minds.

Try not to misunderstand me — I’m not saying we should belittle our negativity when it finds us, because we shouldn’t invalidate our emotions (nor should we invalidate those of others). Not every moment is meant to be a happy one. Not every moment is meant to be enjoyed. But it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be grateful for every moment… because we should be. 

All of the above words have finally brought me to my point: do not be ignorant to the beauty of life. Realize that you can be happy now. Your current state of life is an incredible gift. Remember it.

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