We’ve all got them.
Maybe it’s money.
Maybe it’s a health issue.
Maybe it’s a toxic relationship.
Whatever it is, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the negatives plaguing your life when surrounded by all the happiness and abundance and positivity you can see in other people’s lives on social media.
Everyone wants to be happy, and seems to be in an endless pursuit of finding happiness.
But I don’t believe happiness is a thing to be found and then maintained.
Happiness is a feeling on a spectrum of feelings.
All those feelings make up the human existence. If everyone was always happy, you wouldn’t be happy, you would just be.
Happiness is the counterpoint to sadness. Without a counterpoint there is neutrality.
I consider myself a very happy person, but I also believe my happiness stems from a lot of the hardships I have experienced in my life.
Two of my biggest burdens in life are the loss of my mother when I was two months old, and anxiety.
My Mom died unexpectedly (from a suspected brain aneurysm) when she was 24 years old.
It was Christmas morning and my dad was suddenly a single parent with two small girls to raise. We had little money and life was hard.
When the car broke he couldn’t afford to fix it, so we walked. When it was time to go back-to-school shopping we hit up Salvation Army and Goodwill.
As tough as our financial situation was, I was a kid and didn’t really know any different.
The hard part for me was not having a mom to answer my questions and teach me how to do things most little girls learn from their mother.
I looked like a tomboy with unkempt hair and rumpled clothes for most of my childhood because my dad was concerned about keeping us fed and sheltered, not looking pretty.
I cried when I got my period.
I get sad thinking about having a baby someday and not having a mom to share that experience with.
Anxiety runs in my dad’s side of the family.
Most of my relatives have battled it in some way, shape or form.
The gene didn’t skip me.
The nagging worries I dealt with as a child blossomed into full blown panic as an adult.
Probably due to my mom’s unexpected early death, I developed an irrational fear of dying young.
An unexplained cough would have me Google-ing lung cancer and mesothelioma. My moles had to be cancerous. The sore spot on my calf had to be a blot clot.
I thought about death all.the.time.
It got to the point that my worries consumed my life and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I felt like all the positives in my life were being drowned out by the negatives.
Thankfully, through therapy and medication, I was able to get my anxiety under control.
My worries don’t consume my life anymore, but they are still a part of me. I still think about death more than a normal person probably does.
I still don’t have my mom here with me. But that isn’t a bad thing.
Losing my mom made me prioritize family above all else.
I want a lot of things out of life, both meaningful and superficial.
I want to travel, I want a fabulous body, I want a powerhouse career, I want to publish a book, I want a big, beautiful house but at the end of the day if I have a loving family, it’s all that I need.
The reason I am on this Earth is to raise my little piece of the next generation to realize the importance of giving back and making the world a better place.
So many people struggle to find the reason for their existence on Earth and mine has always been crystal clear to me since losing my mom at an early age.
Anxiety was harder for me to come to terms with.
It wrecked my life for a while but since coming out of the haze of panic and worry I find life much more simple and peaceful.
I’m here. I’m breathing. I’m healthy. I have more blessings than I can count. Life is good.
I could be gone tomorrow. But right now I’m here, so I’m going to live.
Some days there’s going to be worry.
But isn’t there supposed to be? Worry makes you think and reflect, and keeps you from diving headfirst into potentially dangerous situations.
Worry is necessary.
After my freshman year I had to transfer from Bucknell to Penn State to save money.
At the time I was devastated. I felt like my dreams for my life were ending. (At 18!)
Looking back, it was the best thing that ever happened to me.
I wouldn’t have met Josh if I had stayed at my dream school.
Burdens can really suck sometimes but they’re a normal part of life, and something I think people need to talk more openly about with others.
When people only talk about the happiness in their life and ignore or hide the troubles they’ve experienced they’re doing a disservice to others and themselves.
Your burdens are a part of you.
They’re important stitches in the fabric of your life that made you who you are today.
I wouldn’t be the same person if I didn’t experience the hardships that I have.
I wouldn’t love as hard, live as fully, or be as present.
My burdens are a blessing because they give happiness a perspective for me.
Happiness isn’t something I find. It’s something I am.
I choose to experience happiness like I choose to experience every other human emotion.
I want it all. I want a full, real, authentic life.
Question of the Day: What’s a burden you’ve experienced that is now a blessing?
Erin is an East Coast transplant who recently moved to Omaha, Nebraska to experience all the Midwest has to offer. She is a marketer, newlywed, cat lover, social media addict, and blogger at Girl Gone Veggie.