“I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstances but by our disposition.”
— Martha Washington
Dress – H&M || Tote – Victoria Beckham ‘Liberty’ (obsessed) || Booties – Aquazzura (signed by the designer himself!) || Sunglasses – Ray-Ban || Lips –YSL ‘Peach Passion’ || Nails – Christian Louboutin in ‘Just Nothing’
Photos courtesy of Anna of NoirFriday
For the past few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness.
I’ve dealt with a good amount of depression this year and yet I remember that most of my 20’s have never felt easy. I spent the weeks leading up to my college graduation in the ICU with my father making medical life decisions for him I barely understood. I sacrificed my dream to move back to India to stay and care for him — one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. And when he passed away I had to shut down our 6-year-old father-daughter photography business, an experience I found so painful I ended up abandoning my camera for almost 5 years.
Then a few years later my Mother had intensive back surgery (well, two surgeries) that had her in the operating room for over 29 hours. Then in December we lost my grandfather and in February, my Nana.
I’ve spent so much of my 20’s in hospitals watching close family suffer in more ways than I’ll ever dare share here.
Believe me — I don’t mean to parade around my pain either. I always like this blog to be my positive life outlet. But the truth is, the last decade has been harder than I ever could have imagined. My 20’s have been the definition of a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs.
And yet lately I’ve been really wanting to feel… well, happy.
It’s funny because sometimes life trials can really fill you with an insatiable drive to seek out happiness. To obsess over it.
Like, somehow surviving an onslaught of shit-storms leaves you weather-beaten and somehow yet triumphant in your resolution to find the happiness within it all. Like “yea life, bring it on!”.
Because let’s face it — much of life doesn’t go the way we want it to. Much of life is pain, heartbreak, disappointment, and loss. But each of these experiences has shaped who I am. And, as I’m learning how to navigate myself despite periods of extreme chaos, I’m realizing that being happy really isn’t determined by circumstances at all, it’s all about your state of mind. A state of mind that says “yes, things suck, let’s be happy for what doesn’t” takes you a lot farther than the self-destructive cycles of “holy shit, how could it get any worse?”. After you ask yourself that as much as I have, you just get sick of it.
You get sick of not being happy.
The trials of the last decade have made me realize just how much being happy is about controlling myself. There’s so much in the world I CAN’T control. But state of mind is A LOT easier to control than circumstance.
If there’s one true life lesson the pain of the last decade has taught me, it’s that my happiness is determined by my drive to BE happy. FULL STOP.
So if you’re looking for a reason to be happy now, just BE.