If You Spend Your Whole Life Chasing Happiness, You Might Never Find It

If You Spend Your Whole Life Chasing Happiness, You Might Never Find It

Happiness is a result of a life worth living; we can't chase the result and leave out the actions.

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Hello there! A self-proclaimed self-obsessor here, attempting to navigate my life without sinking my own ship.

The past year of my life has been a bit of a madhouse my wary wandering heart has been crawling through. Not crawling through in a negative way, per say, just neutrally, trying not to set off any traps or lose sight of something important. The novelty of college, newfound independence, blossoming and wilting relationships, and a medley of other life motifs have brought me to a single, stable position: my focus in life is on the wrong thing entirely. A comforting thought, right?

In all honesty, this reevaluation has been a long time coming. For years, I have set my sights on the future with a trembling hold on the present, reaching out for what could be mine and manhandling the people around me who I happen to decide on the spot could or could not help me conquer my goals. With the fiercest case of tunnel vision you've never seen, I have passed up on opportunities, forsaken friendships, and turned my life in the wrong direction all because of my own selfishness. A selfishness I couldn't see.

I have been chasing happiness.

Happiness is not a bad thing, not in the slightest. That's not what I mean at all. I would love to reach a point in my life where I find that despite the bad days and the heartache, despite the workload and the trials, I love where I am and what I'm doing. What I mean is that I've been ignoring the real world and fantasizing about what happiness could mean for me. My utterly impatient and imperfect mind has not been focused on the work that I can do with my life, what I'm capable of, the people around me, any of that. I have become obsessed with the idea of happiness and how it can serve me.

Happiness is a sensation, not a destination. It is unique to everyone and not something that can really be tangibly captured. Try as I might, I can't pin down the direct point in my life and say, "There. If I could do this or be that, if I could love this person or be friends with another, if I could make this much or experience this much, I would be happy." Too often lately I've found myself barely reacting in any given situation, so much so that my actions don't make a difference or an impact in the slightest. My excuse? What if what I'm doing interferes with my personal happiness? What if I can't meet this person and own my personal happiness? What if taking this chance ruins this and my personal happiness is lost forever?

I feed myself the thought that someday, I'll get to the point of having all the happiness in the world with the right job and the right relationship and the right path, attempting to skip the burden of the present. I tell myself that I'll be happier than I've ever been, that I'll be happier than any of the people who have ever hurt me or hated me, that I'll suddenly reach a year in my life where it's all downhill and smooth sailing.

But that's not living.

Telling myself I could be happy? What good could that ever do me? My life is happening in these moments right now, and at any point, I might not get any more. So instead of pining after days in the future that aren't even real, I need to make the choice to actively be content in the life with which I have been blessed. I need to be alive in the present, love the people around me, and stay grounded. God has me here for a reason, and that reason is not to wait around for happiness to strike. It is to glorify Him, be content, and stop chasing after some mystical happy feeling that I think, once reached, can solve my life's problems.

Happiness is a wonderful thing. But it's just a feeling, not my focus. If I work every day with all I have towards life worth living, then I'm more than happy with that.

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10 Things I Learned When My Best Friend Got Pregnant In High School

In this world where you can be anything: be a friend (and be a good one).

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Life: full of amazing, unforeseen circumstances. How you roll with the punches only reveals your strength.
True friends are like diamonds: bright, beautiful, valuable, and always in style." -Nicole Richie

I remember when I first heard the big news. I didn't want to believe it. My heart dropped. I was worried for you. What would happen? How would you get through this? Nothing we knew would ever be the same. Our world was about to change forever. I recalled the verse Isaiah 41:10, "Do not be afraid, for I am with you." I knew God was with you and would always be. I knew God needed me to be here for you, no matter what.

Turns out, you had this all in the bag. You handled everything with grace and dignity. You were strong even on your hardest days. You were overwhelmed with faith and you inspired me with your perseverance through the hardest times. I could not be more proud of who you became because of the cards you were dealt.

To Meaghan: I love you. I'm always here, no matter where. Hudson is so lucky to have you.

Here's what I learned from you and your sweet baby boy:

1. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT the end of the world

Start making plans for the future. Pick out clothes, decorations, and toys. Help with all the madness and preparation. She would do the same for you. Plus, 9 p.m. runs to Toys-R-Us just to buy the baby some socks (because you do not know the gender yet) is always a good idea. You have to focus on the big picture. Life doesn't stop even when you want to.

2. No matter how much you want to freak out, remain calm

Getting unexpected news is never easy to hear. If needed, cry. Cry until you cannot anymore. Then, get up and be strong, she needs you. Be flexible (You want to come over to hang out? Right now? No, I'm not in the middle of ten thousand things, come on over). Be available (yes, even for her 3 a.m. insomnia calls just to see "what's up?") "Meaghan, why are you even awake right now?"

3. Radiate positivity. Always. 

This is an emotional time. The LAST thing she needs is someone bringing her down. "No, honey, you're glowing!" "You do not look fat in that bikini!!" "You are rocking that baby bump!" "Oh, that's your the third day in a row you're eating a Sonic burger for lunch? You go girl!"

4. Be ready for all the times: happy, confusing, stressful, sad, (but mostly) exciting

Mixed emotions are so hard, but look for the silver lining. With your support, she will be strong.

"Who knew picking out the brand of diapers to buy was so stressful?"

5. This world is a scary place. You never want to be all alone, so don't be. 

Like the song says, we, really do, all need someone to lean on. Just being there for someone goes a long way. "Meaghan what the heck are you doing in MY bed? How long have you been here?"

6. Lean on God. His plan is greater than we could ever imagine. 

When you don't know where to go, or who to turn to, pray! Pray for the burdens you feel. Pray for the future. Pray for patience. Pray for the ability to not grow weary. Pray for a heart of compassion. Pray. Pray. Pray.

7. Something we never knew we needed. 

Some of the best things in life are things we never knew we needed. Who knows where we would be without this sweet face?

"Hudson say Lib. Libby. L-- Come ON!" "CAT!" "Okay, that works too."

8. "Mother knows best"...is accurate, whether you believe it or not

Turns out, seventeen-year-olds don't know how to plan baby showers. Our moms have been there, done that. They want to be involved just as much as we do, so let them! Listen to their guidance. After all, they're professionals.

9. There will *almost always* be a "better way" of doing something...but, be a cheerleader, not a critic 

This is something many people struggle with in general, but it is not your DNA, it is not your place to be a critic. Let her raise her own baby. You are there to be a friend, not a mentor. ****Unless she's about to name the baby something absolutely terrible -- for the love of that baby, don't let her name that kid something everyone hates.

10.  At the end of the day, it's not what you have or what you know; rather, it is all about who you love and those who love you

Life has adapted, but for the better. We grew up, learned, and became stronger. All the while, we stayed friends every step of the way. We still have the same fun and most definitely, the same laughs.

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Being A Nanny Is The Best College Job, You Can @ Me On This

I strongly suggest joining the field ASAP.

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I have been babysitting since I was in ninth grade. In my opinion, it is the best possible job for a student, and should by all means be taken advantage of by our young adult generation. Being a babysitter teaches patience, responsibility, and how to deal with the weirdest situations ever (kids do some wacky things). Here are what I think are the main selling points of nannying a couple kids during your time as a student:

1. GOOD Pay

At this point, none of us have college degrees. This immediately means that we are going to make much less because the jobs we have available to us are unskilled and pretty basic. However, with ~babysitting~ parents will pay a whole lot to get one night out on the town away from their little bundles of joy. They will pay extra well if it's a weekend night, if they found you last minute, or if they know that their children are especially...exciting.

2. It is literally just hanging out with a kid or two

For the most part, kids just want to have fun. So, a lot of babysitting is just keeping the kids occupied and making sure they are having fun. Sometimes, you can even have fun, too!! Kids love water balloon fights, coloring, and watching movies. I am not opposed to any of these activities. I am especially not opposed to these activities when I am getting paid cold hard cash to do them. This brings me to my next point.

3. Most innocent form of tax evasion

Unless if you are a regular nanny, and the parents are very morally upright, responsible Americans, you will never pay a dime of taxes on your babysitting. Most of your little weekend and small jobs are here and there and not super consistent. Parents typically pay with cash, check, or Venmo. AKA, you can easily make a living off the double-digit per hour pay, and you don't pay taxes. Sneaky. I'm not sure if this is consitutional, but is anyone ever really going to come after the teenage babysitters?

4. (Usually) free food

Another killer perk of being a babysitter is the snacks. At almost every house I've ever sat at, as the parents are running out the door they flippantly shout behind them, "Help yourself to whatever's in the fridge!" I am a broke, hungry college student that has not gone grocery shopping since it was warm outside. Don't mind if I do. (disclaimer: don't go too crazy. Proper etiquette is important: don't eat the last of anything in the fridge, don't open anything that is brand new, and NEVER eat the chocolate the mom has hidden on the top shelf of the pantry.)

5. Downtime

Most of the time parents hire you for two reasons: to make sure that their kids stay alive (if they're little) or to make sure that their kid doesn't burn the house to the ground (if they're old enough to take care of themselves, but not quite old enough to be trusted). For younger ones, either due to a nap or an early bedtime, the kids will be asleep at some point during your hang with them. That means time for you to cozy up on the parents' comfy couch and do some homework or watch a movie (on the quietest volume of course).

If the kids are old enough to be awake for your whole stay, they still will probably not want to spend every single second with you, they'll want to do their own thing, maybe reading a book by themselves or playing a video game at some point. Regardless, you're going to have some chill time where your job is just to periodically make sure that the kids aren't getting themselves into trouble.

6. Kids are hilarious

Kids are the greatest comedians. They are totally unaware of this, but they're absolutely hilarious. They are so small and have no idea what is going on half of the time. It is so fun just hanging out with them and witnessing the stories they tell, things they get excited about, and little misunderstandings.

One of my favorite stories was with an adorable little four-year-old boy. I was explaining to him that I no longer live with my parents because I am in college. I now realize that this is an earth-shattering notion, as he had never considered the fact that he wouldn't live with his parents forever. He had tons of questions about my living situation and finally ventured into the subject of college, so I told him that college is just a fancy word for school. He immediately turned away from me and stared into the distance with the most sorrowful face I've ever seen on a four-year-old. "My mommy and daddy are sending me to school next year." It took me a couple of minutes to explain that there is a huge difference between my parentless lonely school and the kindergarten school he would be going to soon, that he still had a great deal of time with his parents before they would be sending him out on his own. I did my best to convey this to him, but I'm pretty sure the damage was already done. Poor guy will never be the same.

7. Forming relationships with kids

Spending all of this time hanging out with kids, teaching them about the weird world we share, and watching them grow up is so meaningful. You create bonds with them and can't wait to see all of the cool things they do with their little lives.

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