A Thorough Definition

Blog Challenge Day 3: What Makes You Happy?

I think this has been the broadest prompt yet — so I’ll try to be thorough. Define happiness. Fulfillment? Validation? Elation?  Fangirl Feels? I’m going to have to resort to listography for this one as well, I’ll give you one thing for each of the four “definitions” listed above.

Fulfillment:

I think I’ve mentioned before that I majored in the french language for my undergrad. To date, learning a second language has been one of the biggest challenges that I’ve ever taken on. I’ve put so much time and energy into learning (what felt like) a million different tenses for 5,000 different verbs, memorizing all the grammar rules and memorizing when the grammar rules don’t actually apply, deciphering what was supposed to be “modernized” french poetry from the middle ages, and composing pages and pages of essays…all the nights I felt like I had no clue what I was doing….like I said, learning french was one of the most intimidating and frustrating goals I’ve ever endeavored to accomplish. And the payoff was like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. I still have moments (days even) where I want to pull my hair out but then, to watch a movie in french or listen to a news reel or read a book in the language I’ve wanted to learn my entire life — it’s incredible. I feel an incredible amount of fulfillment every time I look at how far I’ve come. I’m still not fluent, but I’m getting there. I’ve studied in France once and I’m working on getting back there again. I don’t know if I’ll ever actually use French in my job, but I hope that I do. Even so, even if I never have to use it in any professional capacity, it’s been an amazing journey and I learned so much about myself, what I’m truly capable of. I’ll never regret the time that I put into mastering a second language. Plus they say a third language is even easier to pick up, so maybe I’m take up Spanish or Italian next!

Paris I

Validation:

I believe that a lot of people can relate to this, but I love helping others. I love listening to my friends problems and giving them my advice and helping them work through and find a solution. I feel a huge sense of validation from knowing that I was useful and that I was able to be supportive and aid someone I love through a difficult situation. I took the Myers Briggs Type Indicator test recently and my description was dead-on: as an ENFJ (extraverted, intuitive, feeling, judgmental) I always want to bring harmony to an environment, I want to find the potential in everyone and I want to help them fulfill that potential. So yes, helping others to live more cheerful lives, I find a lot of validation in that.

Mel and KT

Elation:

This one is too easy: I love music. I love talking about music, listening to music, playing music. When a favorite band drops a new single or releases a new album? It instantly brightens my day, I can’t even describe it. Arcade Fire is releasing their fourth album, Reflektor, on October 29. You can expect a very, very happy blog post around that time from yours truly, in which I rave about how incredible this band is and how much I can’t wait to see them in concert again (hopefully very soon).

Fangirl Feels:

Really, I already posted a taste of my fangirl feels here when I went on and on and on about Austenland, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen and then later, JJ Fields. (I regret nothing). There are a lot of things that I get at least a little fangirl crazy about, but Jane Austen and P&P are by and large the most consistent (this is the part where I halfheartedly own up to being a twilight fangirl at one point but that’s neither here nor there). Since I already shared with everyone my passion for Austenland, I’ll give you a new Austen-inspired rec: Emma Approved. From the same people who brought you The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (They won an Emmy!), Bernie Su and Hank Green have embarked on a modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel, Emma, in vlog style format. They’re only 5 episodes in so far, but given how FANTASTIC  The Lizzie Bennet Diaries was, I can tell you that this is probably worth checking out — it updates on youtube every Monday and Thursday at 9 am (pacific, so that’s 11 am for me in CST). I can promise you though, at some point in the next several months, these people are going to kill me with feels. And it’s going to be so perfect.

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The Purpose in Life (According to Others)

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“If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life; it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth.”

Mitsugi Saotome

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“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.”

― Arundhati Roy

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“If other people do not understand our behavior—so what? Their request that we must only do what they understand is an attempt to dictate to us. If this is being “asocial” or “irrational” in their eyes, so be it. Mostly they resent our freedom and our courage to be ourselves. We owe nobody an explanation or an accounting, as long as our acts do not hurt or infringe on them. How many lives have been ruined by this need to “explain,” which usually implies that the explanation be “understood,” i.e. approved. Let your deeds be judged, and from your deeds, your real intentions, but know that a free person owes an explanation only to himself—to his reason and his conscience—and to the few who may have a justified claim for explanation.”

-Erich Fromm

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A “real” post is coming soon, I swear.