Beijing: A Reflection On Perspective

I’m still alive! I’m still here, blogosphere! This week my language program at Beijing came to an end, and I had to pack and leave for Nanjing to chill out for two more weeks with family. It has been quite busy, but I apologize for my absence.

As I sit here writing, I’m just shocked by how fast my summer has flown by, but also by how much I’ve grown. I feel like my whole perspective about the world has shifted a bit after two short months, and right now I’m still adjusting to that new perspective.

To be more specific, this summer was full of little rough patches in the relationship sector. I won’t share personal details, but I was briefly involved with someone who turned out to be less than ideal in many ways, but the most major disappointment I had with him was his perspective on happiness. To give you some context, for my whole life I’ve never really been the optimistic type of person – of course, I believe I had a relatively healthy outlook on life, but never consciously used happiness as an energy. I just took happiness as it came, and saw happiness off when it left. Happiness was a passive feeling. It was when I saw the world from someone else’s point of view that I really began to see the importance of a bright vision and optimistic way of living.

happinessisachoice

I remember I had a conversation with him about the importance of traveling. He was complaining, as he wanted to visit another city for a weekend, but not because he would enjoy the experience. Instead, he felt bad about not visiting his friend, and in addition, he felt like when he is China he “should” see as many things as possible. Thus, he was considering going to this city, even though the 6-hour one way train ride would leave him utterly exhausted. It was at that moment when I thought about why I traveled. Was it to “force” myself to understand a country’s culture? To “force” myself to spend time with someone? At the expense of my own happiness and health? No.

Sometimes, when we grow older, we accumulate responsibilities that seemingly sap the joy out of our lives. If we traveled, it was for business, or because we “have” to meet family, etc. We need to work to earn money. We need to be selfless in many situations. And, if we feel grumpy, we can point fingers at things like “society”, “fate”, and other people. To a certain extent, this is a healthy way to let out our unhappiness. However, at the end of the day, happiness is a choice – we culminate it within ourselves, and it isn’t in our jobs, our habits, even, dare I say, any of our relationships. When we face our responsibilities and choose to accept them, we should carry them out with positive energy. This sounds all cliched but only when I saw a glimpse of life from a person who didn’t believe happiness is a choice did I truly become aware of the power I had to be happy. And, at the end of the day, I’m not happy just being happy – that’s just another form of passive living. Instead, I was to use my happiness as fuel, and work hard to change other people’s lives. And because that is my goal, I myself will experience struggles and failures and all that ugly stuff, but at the end of the day, as long as I know happiness is a choice, I’ll have the energy to get back on my feet and walk forward.

My relationship this summer did drain me. I lost perspective before I could gain a better one – because he did not really know where his life was going, because he emptied all his energy on blaming others, it was contagious – I sunk into that mindset for a whole week or two. But at the end, I feel like I’ve learned something from that. His kind of unhappiness was just another twisted kind of narcissism, where he just went round and round revolving around his own negativity not paying real, sincere attention to the people he loved. As a disclaimer, I guess, I may have misinterpreted his point of view completely, but to be honest, that was how he was how he came across as to me, and I don’t want to be like that.

Thanks for reading. In what ways do you choose to happy? 🙂

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