When was the last time you were truly happy and content with life?
For me, it was when I was 16-18 years old, doing the International Baccalaureate (college/ A-level equivalent) at school.
That was 6 years ago.
Why? I think it’s because of the following…
In senior school, I wasn’t fully myself. I was friends with a group of people who were nice and fun and everything but didn’t suit my personality. I sort of lived in the shadow of a friend from primary school, and I did what she said and was friends with whoever she was friends with.
It was only in Year 10 that I finally plucked up the courage to move on from her and make my own friends. By this time, it was too late. The nerdy friendship group I joined, who were much more suited to my personality, was already fully formed. I felt happier with them, but still (at times) on the outside looking in on a formed family.
But during the I.B. college days, I had the right friends. I had “The Boys” who were my nerdy gang from before. “The Girls” who were the remnants of my time with the non-nerds (I say all this out of love!) and my new little group with fellow Black and Mixed Race girls. (Only POC people will understand how great it feels and how important it is to know and befriend people who share racial experiences with you).
And so, I was happy. I had multiple groups and parts of myself and happiness and I was just myself without hiding or fearing like I did before.
The International Baccalaureate allows you to study 6 subjects (3 chosen, 3 mandatory). I choose Japanese, Film Studies, and Psychology and had to study Maths, English and a Science.
Having these many things to study was amazing for me. I’m someone who’s interested in many things, and so having so many different things to study kept me happy and balanced.
I miss my Japanese and Film lessons so much!
Skills & learning
Of course, this was the last time that I was learning so much and actually enjoying it. I did a year of university, but I wasn’t happy there. So, the I.B. was the last time I was learning new things and new skills while loving the process.
Having a schedule kept me structured and productive. I like routines that work. And I think this was the last time that I was in a routine that I actually loved. We had free time to hang out and go to McDonald’s, while studying great subjects. It was balanced and it truly worked.
Confidence & certainty
This was the last time I was sure of myself and my life. I was sure I had the right friends. That I had the ability to learn what I was learning. That I was doing the right things with my life. That I was on the right path to success in life.
Since then, I’ve not been confident or sure about my choices or my life at all. And that’s sad. I know we can’t always be sure, but it’s a very nice feeling to know (at least partly) that you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing and enjoying it.
Plus, I was writing happily while studying and felt immense sharing my work with my friends.
I haven’t felt that way, truly, for 6 years. This has been eye-opening for me and gave me food for thought.
So, ask yourself, are you genuinely happy and content with your life right now? If not, when was the last time you were? What about that time in your life worked so well and made you feel good? Is there something you can do to implement what you had or did back then into your life now to feel that happiness once more?
We can’t return to the past, of course. We shouldn’t aim to. But we can learn from it and use it as a guide or a tool for improving the now.
Good luck x
*Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been happy since then! But I mean happy and content in a larger sense. An overall feeling of satisfaction, comfort, joy, and fulfilment. To not feel like something is missing or wrong.*