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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy" is one of my all-time favorite songs. Not just for its cheery beat and McFerrin's awesome accent, but for its super intelligent lyrics!

Okay, you can get the message from the song title, and okay, some guy is telling you not to worry and to be happy. BUT STOP. It's not as simple as that. Or maybe it is and I've just taken an extraordinarily long time to take his advice.

I'm a generally content person, and I've survived breakups much worse than this one, but there are still those moments when your mind gets caught in a limbo, when your train of thought gets separated before reaching its destination, floating aimlessly between one idea and the next, when suddenly your entire brain shifts gears, loses direction, and is consumed by a tunnel of memories. At least, that's how I envision my mind to be like. But what I mean is that I've been kind of sad a lonely lately.

But I had a revelation the other day: we can choose to be happy. Shit happens and life sucks some times, but we can choose how we react to those circumstances. Do we let bad things dictate how we feel? Or do we take a step back and choose for ourselves? We can choose to be happy, regardless of the situation. And what's so awesome about that, is that once we make that decision, things really do get better.

I've begun working on the dreaded college application essays that plague the first semester of senior year. Everyone loathes them, and they're probably one of the most complained-about things in high school. I mean, I've been hearing about how awful they are since 7th grade! And they're tedious because you have to sit for hours, writing and re-writing, editing and revising personal statements and supplements, over and over again. So you can sit there and complain and lament and be frustrated and procrastinate and life will suck.

Or you can choose to be happy. You can relax your brain from thinking about all those summer assignments, what you have to eat for lunch, the chaos in Egypt, and just enjoy the time that the college applications give you to think about yourself. Be selfish with the amount of brain space you allot to yourself. It's okay to be narcissistic here. All of the prompts are crafted so that colleges can learn more about you, as a person, and no one knows you better than you, so all you have to do is think about you! (Wow that's a lot of you's!) Your past, your present, and your future. It's really quite enjoyable, but only if you allow it to be.

This is mostly a note to myself, and the future me, when things get stressful and shit blows. Just remember: don't worry, be happy.

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