Why can’t I just be perfect? Why can’t I just be them?
These words have haunted me forever. In this world, nothing is ever perfect, except for the Instagram influencers with millions of followers and the model on the front page of VOGUE magazine. Scrolling through social media and seeing them live their lavish lifestyles without a care in the world with their latest designer clothing, expensive trips around the world, and expensive jewelry makes it hard for me not to compare. People tell me that these people are unrealistic, their lives are not their actual reality however, I would rather be fake and rich than long for something I don’t have, all the time. In this world, it’s either you make it or you’re stuck at the bottom. I’m headed deep to the bottom. It feels like everything is going wrong in life. I don’t have the money to spend on new clothes and the stress is just piling up.
If I could be a child again, I would take that opportunity in a second. Reminiscing back to when I was a little kid life was so ‘breezy I wish life could always be that easy.’ Everything seemed simple and plain. I wasn’t worrying about the daunting future, comparing myself to others, or stressing out about life. I was just living a carefree life at the moment and having fun. The beautiful memories of the week before Christmas break in elementary school, are my favorite memories. When we were served hot chocolate while watching The Polar Express all cuddled up under a blanket. When we decorated gingerbread trains and snuck candy into our pockets to enjoy later. When there was no social anxiety while meeting and talking to new people. “You’re not a child anymore.” “Learn to grow up.” The dismaying words that marked the end of my childhood, my innocence.
Godfrey Daniels was coming home from a concert he had recently watched when he saw a magazine about a Phone Booth in the Mojave Desert. It was situated over a dozen miles away from the nearest pavement and just sat on the dirt. “There was a phone booth in the Mojave Desert, miles and miles away from any pavement, just sitting there by itself.” Daniel’s curiosity strikes him so he called the number. He sat and waited while the phone rang a few times, then let out a beep indicating that the call ended. However, Daniels continued to call the phone in hopes of someone picking up on the other side of the line, and he never gave up. Eventually, after a month of dialing the number someone finally picked up.
A similar unusual story was shared by Blair Somerville, a New Zealand artist, who was featured in the video “Lost and Found.” Somerville collects recycled materials and unwanted items to refurbish them into something new. He took the worthless, ineffective materials and made them into something bigger. “You just need some shelter, food, and a reason to be alive.” Those three things combine to make you happy. It’s about being content with what you have and keeping the things that make you smile. Instead of comparing himself to others who live a ‘better’ life than him, he is in total content and appreciates what he has. He lives in happiness.
Chihiro from Spirited Away resembles curiosity within everyone. The younger we are the less pressure is put on us to care and worry about trivial things. When she explored the city she ventured forwards without any sign of hesitance. Curiosity played a huge role in this because it allowed her to carry out her tasks to save her parents. She kept a determined attitude, similar to Daniels, and faced many adversities on the way. “Sometimes you have to fight for the things that are worth fighting for.”
I’ve acknowledged as a teenager what it means to be happy and how to achieve the state of happiness. To achieve happiness, it is important to focus on the things that make us feel good, like spending time with friends and family, doing activities we enjoy, and taking care of our physical and mental health. To me, the indefinite meaning of happiness is a gorgeous, orange sunset in Laguna, alone time reflecting on good memories, long drives down PCH, and stopping by Seaside Bakery after. It is a certain period(s) of time where you feel like you belong, where you feel nothing but good feelings, and where you can continue to grow and thrive, without having to worry. This may seem like a trivial event to some people but for Daniels, it was a joyous moment for him. He found his happiness in something so insignificant. It came to show that the little, unusual things make happiness.