Five Month Journal: Happy in the end?

Here I am: back again to face––I mean, conquer––yet another semester of my journalism undergraduate career.

It’s Week 2, the one week where everyone in college still cares about going to classes (that energy usually fades at about Week 3.5; all motivation fails at Week 5).

For me, though, it feels like I’ve already arrived at Week 13, the way my stamina is responding.

In less than two weeks, I’ve packed up my belongings from a nostalgic four weeks in Columbus, re-oriented myself with dorm life, attended all five classes and religiously examined their respected syllabi––oh, and by the way, drove all the way back to Columbus to catch a 6:40 a.m. flight to Baltimore, from whence I ran (yes, literally sprinted through the airport) to catch a bus, that took me to a train, to take me to a subway, to take me to the National Geographic Headquarters in the heart of Washington D.C. All in less than 17 hours.

I’ve come back from D.C. bedraggled and behind in almost all capacities, barely functioning at a calm, coherent pace.

And it all comes at a time when I’ve begun to question many of the values I’ve clung to in my life for so long: efficiency, involvement, tireless commitment, speed, and constant movement.

As someone from a sheltered, suburban lifestyle, all I’ve ever wanted was to get out. A complacent lifestyle filled with mundane routines was just not gonna work for the person that I am––or the person that I aspired to be.

And so I dug my heels in and have been working hard hard hard ever since to make a living for myself in that mysterious realm of “elsewhere.”

All that stress and uncertainty has started to weigh on me recently––to the point where I’ve also begun to question my supposed path.

Do I even want to keep doing what I’m pursuing?

Am I going to be happy at the end?

These doubts of fulfillment and happiness were once so minuscule, I could brush them aside and cease to hear their cries. But now those same thoughts are lingering longer than I’d like, to the point where I feel like I’m being suffocated by big-life questions I shouldn’t be contemplating at the cusp of age 19.

I’m drowning in a sea of my own instability and fragility. I swim onward, but I lack the strength to keep my head clear above this storm.

You know that age-old advice: don’t bite off more than you can chew? Well, right now it’s as if I’ve devoured a whole pack of chewing gum and am in the process of sifting through the myriad flavors, deciding which ones I favor, and which ones I’d rather just spit out––now. All while my mouth is so chock-full of artificial flavors I can scarcely speak, let alone breathe.

I’m hungry for something beyond my reach. I yearn for answers I cannot seek, for peace I cannot find. For happiness I forgot to feel.

I’ve begun to wonder: if I’m not happy, then what’s the point of all this struggling to get to where I desire to be? Is it going to be worth it in the end?

I can only say, I hope so.

In the meantime, I’ll be doing what I’ve been trained to do––writing, being a student, writing, and learning about the vast, wide world we live in. And hoping––fiercely hoping–– that one day soon, I’ll love what I’m ready to devote my entire life to, once again.


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