Expectations: Today I Am Going to Be.....Happy?


By: Emily Algar, Regular Contributor


Image from thedigeratilife.com


So ladies, what are you going to be today? And remember be something that makes you happy, but also something that makes your Mum and Dad happy and that they’re okay with; be something that makes your partner, your boss or teachers, your friends, the people you commute to work or college with happy; and just to be safe, be something that makes the stranger in the café you sometimes see happy.

But wait, I thought you said be something that makes me happy? Oh yeah, no, you see you have to be happy, but only so long as everyone else is okay with your choices too.

And we all wonder why we’re not happy and content!

I like to think being happy is a universal goal, which stretches across continents, languages, gender, and ethnicities. So why is it becoming increasingly hard to get close to like that really hot guy or girl at the end of year party you’ve been trying to talk to all year?

Feminists, both women and men, have made huge strides and fought hard won battles on our behalves for the last century. We can now vote, get an education, drive a car, own property, climb the career ladder, and actually have a say in who or even if, we want to marry. We’ve come a long way and though we’ve still got a way to go our horizons are bigger and brighter.

Yet now it is like being in a cake shop with too many choices; there is so much pressure from society and from ourselves on what we can “be.”

Is it okay to want to take full advantage of your education and career possibilities and dream to break through the glass ceiling? Or should you focus on finding a partner, buying a house, and having kids? How about just throwing in the towel and leaving on a jet plane to warmer climbs and a brand new culture to investigate? Or should you put all three on your to do list?

In the run up to being 26 this year, I went into full-blown panic mode. I had just got my BA and was on the road to getting my MA, I was working at a great company, had amazing friends, and yet I still felt like a failure. I had no idea what I wanted to be or where I saw myself in five years, I still lived at home, I wasn’t in a relationship, and hadn’t begun saving for any or all of the above!

Classmates were buying houses, getting married, having babies, and landing dream jobs. I felt jealous and not because I want any of those things, but because they all seemed like they’d figured “it” out and were happy.

Despite this, I think I’m starting to figure “it” out. I think that whatever road or pathway you decide to take, whether that be a high-powered corporate lawyer, a super Mum who follows her dreams when her kids are in a bed, an independent women who is trying different things on to see if she likes them; or if you’ve made up your mind on being barefoot and pregnant, then do it! Do it because it makes you happy even if your parents are dead set against it or your friend thinks you’re mad and thinks it’ll all end in tears. Do it because at the end of the day when you go to sleep at night, you’re the one who has to lie there in the dark with you, no one else. You can only stay true to you, and that other stuff will come along when you’re ready.

About Emily: Emily is currently studying for an MA in International Security and is interning at a PR company that works for non-profits, as well as being a regular contributor for I AM THAT GIRL. She lives for her music and dogs and has a weird obsession with lobsters and candles.




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