A question that has been weighing on my mind lately is how can I make myself happy? In principle, this seems like a silly question. I know myself better than anyone. I know what I like and dislike. Yet I have trouble finding things to do or think about that I actually get pleasure from. I like drawing, yet after about half an hour, I’m bored. I like watching endless episodes of my new favorite show (right now it’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine), but doing so makes me feel like a potato that is slowly becoming one with my bed. It’s a temporary distraction, if anything. I like making my brain work, but it’s hard to find something that seems interesting enough for me to put my brain to work on.
I often describe this feeling as being at a loose end. I need a change. I need to shake things up. But when I try to find something to do to get rid of this feeling, I can’t come up with anything. It’s endlessly frustrating. There are lots of things I could do but none seem right or instantaneous enough.
This is another issue: instant gratification. I can’t imagine it’s just me that feels this. I have no patience anymore. I can’t wait in lines (something which my roommate can attest too—sorry Melissa), and I get antsy doing anything for more than about half an hour. It’s the same way with happiness. I keep trying to find an instant fix, something that will make me happy RIGHT NOW. I know it’s unrealistic, but I just want something—anything—to flip that switch in my brain and lift the blanket of monotony that I feel weighing on my chest. This often leads to me dying my hair a new color because it is the fastest and most noticeable change I can make myself, yet it’s never as satisfying as I hope it will be.
One of the problems is loneliness. I’m an introvert and I love being by myself, but that doesn’t mean I like being alone. It sounds counterintuitive, and in a way it is. I want to be by myself and be happy just being with myself, but I know that having people whom I know love me makes me feel so much better. That doesn’t mean going out and being surrounded by people 24/7, but it means having someone that I can turn to and not have to worry about what’s going on in their head or whether or not I’m being annoying—or even if I am, they don’t care. Someone to talk to about anything and everything. Someone that will make me happy.
This is an unhealthy need, and I know it is. Most of the time I don’t care what people think of me, but then when I’m feeling at a loose end and can’t make myself happy, I turn to other people to make me happy, and that’s not fair. I expect too much from them. I know I’m happy when I’m in a relationship and have someone to always lift my spirits, show me that I matter. I get this feeling from other people too, but it’s not quite the same. It’s instant gratification, a quick fix. But then as soon as I’m on my own again, the loneliness and emptiness set back in.
I think normally this is when one would turn to drugs, drinking, or lots of meaningless hookups (or all three), but I know myself enough to know I wouldn’t like any of those solutions. So instead I lie face down in my bed half asleep, for hours, wallowing in my own emptiness. I need to make a change but knowing what that change is seems like an impossible thing to figure out. I want to be enough for myself. I want to find that thing that impassions me, that I can hone in on and obsess over. I love obsessing. It anchors me. Without that anchor, I’m just adrift in my life, going through the motions.
I don’t mean to sound ungrateful for everything and everyone I have in my life. I am so unbelievably thankful to be in Paris, to be getting an education, to be following my dreams.
But getting to Paris was my dream…so what’s next?