By: Adrienne Credo, IATG Contributor March 25, 2016
Everyone’s happiness looks different. Some of us connect our happiness to success at school, at our jobs, or in our relationships. The one thing to remember, however, is that happiness comes from within us, and we have to fight every day to continue choose our happiness.
For years, I thought being happy meant that I had a steady relationship, a great GPA, and a job that made a lot of money, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that thought this way. If I just had two of the three points on the arbitrary checklist of happiness, I wasn’t happy enough. I would tell myself, “you need to do this in order to really be happy.” When in fact, doing so only made me unhappy. As time went on, I realized that the arbitrary checklist of happiness was just that—arbitrary. As I grew out of that phase of my life, I began to understand what truly makes me happy aside from relationships, school, and work.
I found that the common denominator in finding my happiness was, well, me.
When I let that little factor sink into my stubborn head, I started to develop habits and hobbies that made me happy. I picked up photography and saved up my hard-earned money for new equipment to fund that part of my happiness, because, like my own happiness, I was in control of how I frame something, how much light to let in, and when to capture a great moment. Part of the reason why photography became one of my favorite hobbies is because of the inherent solitude it begs. Very few people in my circle of friends are willing to wake up at 4:00 AM and withstand the cold winds and possible showers of rain just to catch the sunrise and take time-lapse photos. And I was completely okay with that, because the solitary aspect of my photography meant that I had more time to collect my thoughts, digest the day’s events, and enjoy my own company.
Defining my own happiness is a constantly changing business. There are some days or weeks when I can’t engage with photography because of how busy my schedule gets. I always take the chance to photograph portraits or events for friends whenever the opportunity presents itself so that I’m held accountable to a specific time with a specific purpose. When I don’t get to photograph as often as I want, I find other ways to make myself happy, such as making more time to spend with my girlfriends, binge-watching shows with my roommates with a glass or two of wine, or journaling in between the craziness of my schedule. I’ve learned to adapt to how crazy busy my life has become without compromising my happiness.
What makes you happy? Make a list of 5-10 things in life that make you happy, then go out and do them! Now’s the time to choose happiness!
Adrienne is an undergraduate at University of California, Irvine studying Criminology, Law and Society with a minor in International Studies. She is also a photographer for a small food company and freelances on the side. She loves watching TV shows like Chicago PD (shout out to Sophia Bush!) with her roommates and creates funny videos with her friends. Check out some of her photographs here on Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/123906482@N03/ Follow Adrienne on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ayjaycee and on Instagram: http://instagram.com/a.credo
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