A lot of my bloggy friends seem to be a bit down lately. Some have even decided to stop blogging while they try to figure things out.
I'm not personally unhappy, fortunately, although I've definitely been stuck in many a rut before; I think I spent most of my twenties in a state of mild dysthymia. I would worry a lot about where I was going in life versus where I thought I should be (hello, quarterlife crisis!) and end up feeling like a total failure.
I can still get myself pretty down-in-the-dumps when I want to, reflecting on the "mistakes" I've made in life, or doors I've closed that, in retrospect, I would have liked to have left open. In fact, I could probably spend a week wallowing in bed in self-induced misery. (What can I say? It's a gift.) Mostly, though, I've learned to shush the shoulds and should'ves as I've gotten older.
I think one of the best pieces of advice I've ever gotten was "if you want to be the type of person who has a dog, get a dog." It was quite literal (and terrible*) advice at the time. Now, though, it really resonates with me. What makes a person a dog owner? It's not magic, genetics, or luck. It's buying (or adopting) the dog. "But wait!" you say. "My apartment doesn't allow dogs. Clearly, I shall remain dogless forever." Well, if owning a dog is really important to you, you can move. Can't afford to move? Start saving the money. What's life without obstacles? Pretty darn boring, that's what.
Want to be an investor? Buy stock. Want to be a saver instead of a spender? Start putting $5 or $10 a paycheck into a savings account. Want to learn swing dancing? Take an informal class through a local college. Want to move to a warmer (or colder) climate? Write down a list of all the things you'd need to do to make the move, and start brainstorming ways to get them done. Miami (or Toronto), here you come!
Yes, certain windows of opportunity may close (or be harder to open) as you get older, but we really do write our own tickets in life. Happiness is often just a choice.
I love you, Internets. Be happy.
*If you're a broke 21-year-old student with allergies and an aversion to vacuuming more than once a week, and who can use just about any excuse to avoid homework/classes - it may not be a good idea to get a dog. I'm just sayin'.