Hamel: (Un)Happy Journal #34

Opinion Editor Peyton Hamel ends her Happy Journal series with nostalgia over the last six months and happy hopes for the future.

Peyton Hamel

Today’s the day, folks. As we are all coming out of our burrows, it’s also my turn to come out of mine and say goodbye (but only for now). Even though our horrible year of 2020 isn’t even close to being over and COVID-19 has now turned into a long-term resident, we have to get back to normal(-ish) sooner rather than later. 

I have truly enjoyed writing to you over the past six months about the nuances of our quarantine. After all, the Happy Journals served to offer you a set of positive and happy news twice a week. 

I remember writing my very first journal right after I devastatingly moved out of my dorm at Wilson Hall (Towers) in late March. I actually had pink eye when I left and had to suffer for 10 hours of driving with it. I felt uprooted, betrayed and, even more so, sad. But now, as I have moved back into my dorm in Wilson, I feel once again rooted and, well, happy. 

Whether we choose to believe COVID-19 was supposed to happen, a lot of beautiful things did come out of it. We were given breathing room. We were given time with our families. We were given a mental health break. We were given a pause button. 

The world was at a standstill, but I know all of our minds were running. If your mind keeps running, it’ll eventually end up running in circles, intertwined and twisted. I hope that by coming out of this we learned at least this lesson: breathe and unwind. Take that time for yourself; you can’t keep running forever, whether it be toward or from something. Every runner knows a basic rule: you need to breathe to persevere. 

When was the last time you took a deep, prolonged breath and looked up? Relieved your shoulders of tension? Told yourself you genuinely are going to be OK?

I can feel myself looking forward to tomorrow, and I really hope you do, too. I want you to be able to take that deep breath and believe you are going to be OK, even if it takes a few more breaths and even a few tears. 

If you aren’t feeling this way and you haven’t been able to get there, I have a few sappy suggestions I want you to try:

Enjoy the sunshine. 

Watch the sunset. 

Blast your music.

Force yourself to dance, by yourself or with someone else. 

Eat that dessert you’ve been craving. 

Redecorate your room. 

Stretch all your muscles while laying down on your bed (ya know, the morning squeaky stretch). 

Go on that run you’ve been putting off for weeks. 

Pray to your god, whoever that may be, and thank them. 

Tell someone you love them. 

We are all on this big, little world together, and the best thing we can do is try to be happy, together. Sure, the purpose of life is argued in so many philosophical facets of research, but, really, the purpose of life is to live. Live until your heart can’t be filled anymore. Live until you crash so exhausted at night that you get up wanting to do it all over again. Live until you run out of love. 

Take everything that has happened to you and the world these last six months and learn from it. How you live your life from now on is what matters. That’s the only real thing that matters. 

Even though I’m happy, I’m mostly happy for you. For where you go. For where you are going to go. Live that life you’ve been wanting. Do everything you can to make that happen. Envision it. Enact it.

And be happy.