By Abigail Zeitler, Regular Contributor
As a 21-year-old woman who’s just starting to venture into the “real world,” the word independence has become a large part of my identity. I like defining myself as independent. The word has a sort of bold, brave, and courageous vibe to it, which are descriptors this generation of women are starting to embrace.
What I’ve learned is that it’s easy to depend on others. We can choose to latch on to many things in our lives, like boys, friends, work, grades, etc. and allow them to control our happiness. We become attached to certain people, places, and things. It’s easy to think that when something changes, your world in that very moment pauses. Those people, places, and things can end up controlling your emotions and your actions.
…… That is, if you let them. One thing I’ve learned in life is that shit happens. There will be lemons, and you have to be able to make some damn good lemonade to get through those bad days. If you let the lemons sour your day, you aren’t doing yourself any justice.
I used to let my circumstances sour my day. By circumstances, I mean whatever happened that made me upset, angry, or any sort of unhappy emotion. I can recall a few specific times I let this happen, like when I got a driving ticket, I had a bad break up, or I got injured in sport related incidents. I can definitely recall the next couple of days where I complained and stayed in a slump. And, I can also recall depending on other things to make me happy again. I was waiting for that something that was really awesome to come and turn my world around.
A recently realized that I needed to change how I was letting these downers affect me. If I just became the one that always picked myself up when I was down, I wouldn’t be so dependent on other people, places, and things to provide happiness for me. I would own my life a little more.
Challenge yourself to not let those lemons get you down, whatever they may be at this moment in your life. Whether it’s a fight with a friend or something smaller like ruining a white shirt because you threw it in with the colors when doing laundry… take charge and take control of your life instead of letting those moments steal your sunshine.
Be independent. Be free from depending on outside commodities to sustain your happiness. Let you control how you want to feel each and everyday. If you want to be happy, then be happy. If you want to eat ice cream, then eat it. If you want to go on a spontaneous road trip, then just go.
Freedom is a beautiful thing. And we can only obtain it by owning ourselves and becoming the creators of our own happiness.
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Abigail is a junior at The University of Texas at Austin. She loves coffee, traveling, photography, books and just a little bit of everything else in this world. Her passions stem from her drive to make the world a better place, so when she’s not writing or staying busy on campus you will find her volunteering. Her current venture is biking from Austin to Alaska this summer to fight cancer with the Texas 4000, www.texas4000.org. You get tips on how to succeed in college on her blog theresnosuchthingasanexcuse.tumblr.com or find more of her at www.abigailzeitler.com.
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