Coming to Australia has been one of the best decisions of my life. It has been so fulfilling to have the chance to take a “year out” of university and have time to work on myself. I feel happy and uplifted, like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders and the led in my lungs has been removed. For so long the default setting in my head has been set to sadness and emptiness and I have had to work hard with myself to move off the default into happiness. Eventually I stopped having to force myself to reach for that happiness as it gradually switched to become my default. I have strived so much this session to put myself into a routine that allows me to feel achievement, self improvement, joy and friendship. I have avoided alcohol and going out, I have spent hours and hours in the library, spent lots of quality time with friends discovering Wollongong, and avoided staring at my phone in public and faced people and the real world outside. I have made time to read books over watching too much TV, knitting and listened to lots of beautiful music. I am concious of drinking lots of water, trying to eat healthy (particularly breakfast), getting exercise, and getting lots of sleep by going to bed early. Some might read that and think “boring”, but to that I say rather “boring and happy” than “fun and unhappy”! I don’t know why, but doing all this boring stuff really has made me a better person and my soul feels a thousand kilos lighter. Of course, everyone feels sad occasionally, but now it’s never the default, it’s a rarity and never as severe as it used to be.
Wearing dopamine around my neck to remind myself to strive to fill my body with happy chemicals everyday!
This year abroad has changed my perspective on life in so many ways. I have realized that happiness isn’t something that relies on other and other people’s circumstances, but my own. Happiness doesn’t come from competing with others, either it be having a more toned body or a better grade on an assignment. Most of the time, there will always be someone who is better looking than you or who is smarter than you. Happiness doesn’t come from validation of others either. It doesn’t come from having boyfriends and friends who tell you how amazing, funny and smart you are. Happiness doesn’t come from someone telling you they love you. It doesn’t mean anything when you don’t love yourself. Happiness has come from realizing everyone’s bodies is different, and being healthy and going to the gym isn’t about looking good for others, but feeling well for myself. It has come from getting a grade on an assignment and feeling proud of how much work and effort I put into it, doing the best I could. Happiness is also just simply feeling the sun on your skin, seeing smiles and hearing laughter, listening to music that makes you feel, walking among forests, stroking a cat or being hugged my mummy and daddy. Happiness is feeling lucky to be alive.