Being Happy With What You Have

Something that I really struggled with this year, more than my previous 22 years, was being envious or jealous of those around me. Whenever a friend or family member had it good, as much as I wanted to be happy for them, I couldn’t help but I wonder why I didn’t have it good too. For example, I’ve wanted to travel for the longest time, and this year it seemed liked an extraordinary number of the people in my life were jetsetting to faraway, exotic places I would likely never visit in my lifetime. I’d scroll through Facebook albums and curse the lucky person who had made it to Italy, Costa Rica, London, or whatever other location they ended up in. “Why can’t I see these places,” I’d ask myself, knowing full well what the answer was. I didn’t have the money or the opportunity, but it wouldn’t do me any good to bitch and moan about my rotten luck.

But then something happened. I went to Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland in March. I went to Las Vegas with my fiancé in July, and Atlantic City and Vermont with my friends in April and last month respectively. I have a cruise with my sister coming up in a couple of weeks. Maybe these weren’t quite the exotic places I’ve dreamed of going, but I’ve done more traveling this year than I ever have before. Add to that the fact that I’m only 23 — and that I still have a honeymoon to look forward to next year — and there are plenty of opportunities for me to go new places.

“That’s nice and all, Tayla, but you still don’t have a job.”

I’ve been out of school for four months now, and I had a huge expectation that I’d have an honest-to-goodness grownup job by now. But the jobs I did apply to hired someone else, or I simply never heard back. But, I have something that many of my friends don’t have. I have the opportunity to work for myself. As a freelance writer, I don’t have a boss. I don’t have to sit in an office for eight hours, silently counting down until the weekend. Aside from corresponding with an editor, I take on assignments when I can or when I feel like it. I can make as much or as little as I want. Sure it won’t make me rich (yet), but I can get paid to write while watching Law & Order: SVU or in between playing a Left 4 Dead 2 campaign. So many people I know with full-time jobs hate them, have quit, or are thinking about quitting. I’m sure they’d trade places with me in a heartbeat.

“How do you expect to pay back thousands of dollars in student loans/pay for a wedding by yourself, with no job?”

Similar to my last point, I have my freelance work. With no other expenses at the moment, aside from a phone bill, I can put the majority of the money I make toward paying off my loans and toward paying for the wedding. And I’m not paying for the wedding myself, my fiancé is too. But still, it’s a daunting task, and I know I have friends whose parents are helping them with loans (and weddings, surprisingly, a lot of people my age seem to be to getting married or engaged.) Obviously I haven’t stopped looking for a job, but all I can do for now is work with what I have. If I’m really, really determined, I could easily make $300 a day writing, and that’s just from one site. Most days, though, I’m content with making $120 or $150, and if I kept it up five days a week, I’d make around the same amount I’d earn at a full-time entry level job. If I decide I want to push myself a little harder, I could double that amount, but it may or may not cost me my sanity.

The point I’m trying to make here is that the grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it. And I’m watering the hell out of my grass and throwing Miracle-Gro on it just as an added measure. I have a friend that always teases me and says things always seem to work out for me, and he’s absolutely right. If I put my mind to something, I’ll make it happen one way or the other. So while I may not be heading off to Paris or working a 9-5, I’m happy with what I have, and I know if/when I want to change things, I can and will.

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