My mind was racing as I crammed the last box into my already stuffed Subaru. As I looked over my house one final time, I jumped into the seat, mom’s homemade muffins in hand, and headed out of the driveway. After a long two and a half hour drive, my roommate Elysia and I made it to our final destination. We pulled into the parking lot and looked at what would be the next four years of our lives.
We started unpacking the car, carrying boxes to and from our room, including our fish Ardawg, laughing and joking as we went, finally getting settled. I sat back at one point, looking at the people surrounding me as we unpacked. My best friends, Tanner, Emma, Taco, and Colton, sat around in my room laughing about something (maybe how much the boys had freaked our roommates out) when I noticed how genuinely happy they were. This made me wonder: What makes a person genuinely happy?
With this question in mind, like any new college student, I looked towards Google to see what answers I could find. My first search was ‘genuinely happy people,’ wondering if people like my friends would show up. I clicked on the first link to find “20 Secrets Genuinely Happy People Never Told You,” and was caught by the first line of the article.
“Happiness is a choice, and genuinely happy people make the choice to be happy, everyday!”
It was a pretty moving way to start an article, so of course I kept reading. Most secrets included avoiding stress, learning to say no, loving their flaws, dealing with fear head on, taking risks, encouraging others, and most importantly, loving life as it is.
Is this truly what makes people happy? This question stuck in my head as I started to ask myself what truly made me happy and how I happened to love life. As I thought of this, I reflected back to my drive from FarmFest earlier this August. On my quiet drive, I chose a playlist of one of my favorite artists and started listening. A few songs in, an unfamiliar one started playing. You’ve had it happen too. That one song that’s on the album you download but never actually listen to. However, it quickly became one of my favorite songs. One line in “Live It Well” by Switchfoot caught my attention and became my motivation for the rest of my year.
“Life is short, I wanna live it well. One life, one story to tell.”
On this thought, I started to think about what my story was and how that made me happy. My story is full of horses, FFA members, laughing with my family and best friends, great cups of coffee with my dad, and adventures in the great outdoors, because each piece made me happy in some way. You see, everybody’s story makes them happy in some way, however, we do have a choice to be genuinely happy. We can be happy for a variety of reasons: maybe for ourselves, others, and even the world around us. When we choose to be genuinely happy, we chose to live life well. One choice equals the other and can turn into a series of great memories as we develop our own sense of happiness. As FFA members, we can choose to live it well this year too. When we live well, we live fearlessly. We live life as it is, accepting our flaws, avoiding stress, choosing happiness, and in the end, truly living life the way it should be. When we truly live life well, we can celebrate life and the people around us, whether it be members, advisors, or even our supporters. This year, I choose to be happy and to live it well, and this school year, I challenge you to do the same.
How will you chose to be happy this year?
Stationed by the flag,