Originally Published in the October 2013 Issue 1 of "The Mainsheet"
The new school year has begun. The first week jitters have faded away. The adjustment to new classes and teachers and classmates is slowly settling. Homework and tests and projects are piling up. And probably, most people are starting to feel at least a tiny bit overwhelmed (I know I am).
In spite of all the crazy stress that surround the life of the average Chadwick student, I have found that we don’t often enough step back and check in with ourselves and ask, in my humble opinion, life’s most important question: am I happy?
Happiness is sometimes the first thing thrown out the window when one has to worry about SATs, APs, homework, parents, life, boys, girls, relationships, friendships, college, sports, keeping in shape, being effortlessly cool and well dressed, and the countless stresses that plague our lives.
I will confess that because I am sometimes too self-aware and overly analytical and crazy, I can feel pulled down my all of these worries and then some.
Sometimes feeling happy is just too hard. It’s just too much effort. Basking in misery and self-pity can be sort of nice. Choosing not to think too much on the source of one’s unhappiness and instead just accept it can be the easy way out.
After a difficult year last year, I did a lot of self-reflecting over the summer. I asked myself the tough questions, the questions that were painful and hard to answer, questions that I may never have the answers too. I tried to pinpoint the things that were making me unhappy and the things that made me happy.
And for all of this thinking and reflecting and probing and analyzing, I came up with just one conclusion: I was fully capable of being happy. I just needed to try a little harder.
I needed to sleep. I needed to be easier on myself. I needed to be easier on others. I needed to not be afraid to be vulnerable, or let people in, or get hurt. I needed to love myself unconditionally and laugh at myself. I needed to be patient. I needed to live in the moment. I needed to stress less. I needed to care what people thought less. I needed to stop putting my self-worth in what other people thought or what people may think. I needed to go after what I want without mercy. I needed to not let anybody steal my joy. I needed to change my mindset. I needed to accept imperfection.
New Years and the start of the new school/work year are usually the times that most people make new resolutions. And so I have decided to make one for Chadwick School.
Without being too preachy (I know this is a little bit preachy), if every student, administrator, faculty member, and teacher took a vow to just love themselves a little more, to be a little less hard on others, and a little more forgiving of the mistakes that we are bound to make, wouldn’t we all be a little happier and less stressed?
We are imperfect beings. We need to stop holding ourselves to an unattainable, unhealthy level of perfect. It will never be achieved. “I was born to make mistakes, not to fake perfection,“ Drake once wisely said. The sooner we can accept that, the sooner we can all be a little bit happier.
Photo Courtesy of Kate McEvilly August 2013