by Alex Mosher

I don’t remember when I started to become dissatisfied with life. Maybe it was when life became a task. Every day seemed to repeat the same monotonous cycle — school, work, school, sleep. Each moment was spent hurrying through the task at hand only to move onto the next one, and then repeating it all over again the next day. Something just snapped, and I remember thinking, “This can’t be it.”

We’ve been molded by a society in which we’re taught happiness is being comfortable. Happiness is having a successful job, your own place and money on the side to spend how you please. Next thing you know, you’re stuck in a major you aren’t passionate about, or a job that doesn’t bring you joy because someone convinced you that you’re doing it right. You’re safe.

But is that really what happiness is? Don’t get me wrong, some people love their majors or their jobs. I’m one of them, but I too have been blinded by the preconception that working my ass off will ensure my future, my happiness. So are we all just going to continue working our asses off and prolonging happiness in hopes of one day achieving it?

No.

Life is not about made-up expectations created by society and doing something because you feel like you should be doing it. Life is about living! Life is about doing what really makes you happy, what actually brings joy to your heart. Whether it’s riding a bike on a sunny day, hanging out with friends who make you feel good about yourself, exploring the great outdoors or just simply sitting alone in a coffee shop reading a great book.

Because if you’re not enjoying life, if you’re not doing the things you really want to do, then what’s the point of being here at all? Do you really believe we were put on this beautiful earth to spend our days stressing about what’s in front of us and worrying about the next item on the agenda?

Happiness shouldn’t be situational; it should come from within, and therefore be available to us whenever we choose to accept it.

Right now, at this very moment, I want you to let go of everything society has tainted your pure brain with. Let go of all the expectations that have been set on you, let go of how society said you should look, forget what society said is or isn’t okay to say, how you should or shouldn’t act and most importantly, what society made you believe was happiness.

“Life is really simple, yet we insist on making it complicated.” The Chinese philosopher Confucius spoke these words, and I couldn’t agree more. Now take a step back and look at the world, the real simple world. Unceasingly, everyday, the sun rises to light up our day and warm the flesh on our bones. Creatures fly in the sapphire sky singing melodies. Plants sprout from the dirt and grow sweet succulent fruit that enriches our powerful bodies. Some of the truest happiness we will ever feel simply comes from interactions with fellow human beings, whether it’s having a wonderful conversation, making someone happy, laughing or being loved.

Not only are we blessed with this wonderful world but also we have the freedom to embrace it. We have the freedom to explore wherever we want, do whatever we want, talk to whomever we want, love whomever we want and be whatever we want. What else could you possibly need to live a happy life?

The only person who controls your happiness is you, so right now, take control. Do the things you want to do, and let go of everything holding you down because it’s not real. What’s real is the beautiful day outside, your beautiful soul and all the beautiful souls surrounding you. Start embracing life now, not tomorrow, now. Because why wait to be happy?

That being said, it’s not always easy to keep your head up. Unfortunate events will occur in your life, and you will make mistakes, but I truly believe they’re not mistakes if you learn from them and what we perceive to be tragedies are blessings in disguise, whether we recognize it or not. So learn from your mistakes and let go of your past, because it doesn’t have any control over your present.

I promise you, when you’re on your deathbed, hopefully many years from now, you will not say to yourself, “I really wished I spent more of my life working.” You’re going to say, “I’m glad I had a happy life.” We need to stop pursuing happiness because we’re never going to stop pursuing it. We need to start embracing it; we need to start living now.

Alex Mosher studies journalism and French. She can be reached at amosher@nevadasagebrush.com.