Work Harder, Be Happier

This past year was my first year in the “real world” – as people call it. In the past 10 months, I graduated from college, started my first full time job, moved to a new city, got married, bought my first house, (and therefore moved again) and began the process to adopt a puppy. So, I feel like I was/have been pretty busy! However, I still don’t feel all that busy. I get to spend more time with my husband now than I ever had before. When I started college, my first semester, I only had 12 credits. (I dropped a Spanish class that was far too advanced for me. Somehow I magically placed into it and a few weeks into the course I thought, “HOW AM I IN THIS CLASS? I’M SO GOING TO FAIL.” I wish I would have stayed in it and passed it, but I didn’t. So that’s that.) Anyway, the first time I ever met my husband, long before we started dating, I remember telling him that I had so much free time on my hands because I only had 12 credits. He commented that he couldn’t take less than 16 or he would be lazy and do terribly. I was so confused. Like… what? He would do poorly because he was… underwhelmed?

However, the facts are this: that semester, the one in which I only had 12 credits, I had the lowest GPA of my college career: 3.01. I was underwhelmed. I wasn’t motivated. I valued being lazy and “relaxing” more than anything else. The busiest semesters of my college career were my most productive, my most impactful, and they were my happiest. My last semester, I student taught (aka teaching full time), I worked a part-time job (at least 20 hours/week), took classes, job searched, participated in extra-curricular activities, and began wedding planning. Now, I’m… teaching. Yes, full time. And yes, I’m a wife. I cook, clean, shop, write for fun, sometimes exercise. But all in all, I technically did all that before, too. I’ve recently been considering picking up a second job for the summer. After all, we have no kids, and I would love some extra cash. I waitressed over my college summers, and I loved it, so I thought about picking it up again for the summer. Then, I thought “Maybe I could do this on weekends during school sometimes, too.” NOW… you all think I’m crazy. I’m already working full time, I know. Yes, my job is very demanding. I even tutor after school 4 out of 5 days a week. I have slight OCD, so I am busy at home, too. But, I started to think of this: I was busier than this before, and I thrived. I was so motivated. I felt so good about myself. Personally, I get so much satisfaction from knowing that I work hard — really hard. It’s one of the reasons I liked waitressing – I worked really hard, and at the end of the day, it paid off – literally! I began to think that If I were more busy right now, I would be even happier, feel more confident, and overall, be more successful in all aspects of my life. Who knows, maybe it really would be too much. I have more personal obligations now than I ever did before – I have a home and a marriage and soon a puppy that are my responsibility. But, eventually I will give into this urge to do more, and I guess we’ll find out then how it turns out.

I think it comes down to this, though: It’s like we all think we would be SO happy if we could just win the lottery and retire forever – or work “part-time.” But think about it, what would you DO all day? Would you REALLY be happy? Would you feel good about yourself? I think to really be happy, motivated, and satisfied, we need to DO things. We need to be active. We need to be busy. Impress yourself with how much you can do.

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