Taylor Swift has nailed it in one with the lyrics “Happy, Free, Confused and Lonely” from her delightful little 22 tune, which, it would appear, is a great representative to how I’m feeling currently. Bar the part, of course, about being 22, which, if you haven’t already noticed is something I’ve rather bitterly left in the past.
What is happiness? I’m feeling content, if that’s what the big H word is really all about? And I’m enjoying myself. Enjoying myself in an adult way, a healthy way. I’m amusing myself with best friends and crafts, and endorphins from exercise and a successful career, rather than drunken mistakes and sluttiness. And boy does it feel good to move on from the latter. I’d use the word happy to describe myself right now in a general sort of way. Sure there are hours (or even days, if I’m being over-sharingly honest) when I curl up in bed like a little lost kitten and have a sad little sulk, but I’ve come to the heart-warming conclusion that this doesn’t mean that I’m not happy.
Happiness is a general thing that we’re not expected to be at every minute, of every day, of our lives. The sooner we accept that we’re all going to have moments of uncertainty and upset, the sooner we can really accept the term ‘happy’ into our lives. I expect it comes with all this growing up malarkey, a stage of maturity if you will.
And although I might constantly moan and groan about getting old, deep down it’s nice knowing that getting old does comes with some pretty sweet positives – like happiness, and understanding what actually counts as happiness. Oh, and letting go of things that don’t matter, rising above things that your 16-year-old self would deem crippling and therefore allow you to be submerged in ‘unhappiness’.
I’m happy today because my world is good. It’s not perfect, but it’s good, and really, what fun would life be without a constant want to make it that little bit better? It’s the challenge and the journey to perfection that creates all the fun that leads to happiness.
Without the strains of parents, teachers or a boyfriend, I’m feeling incredibly liberated. Ok, so I’ve still got an employer, and maybe that could be seen as some sort of restraint, but it’s not nearly as suffocating as the first three were. Realising the world is your oyster is as terrifying as it is exhilarating. Yes, you’re old enough to do as you please without anyone holding you back (minus a few judgemental looks and comments), but do you really want to do as you please?
Do you want to travel to the Cook Islands, or run the London Marathon, or migrate to Minsk, or work with Polar Bears in Antarctica? Probably not. It’s ok to feel free and liberated without actually doing anything out of the ordinary. For me it’s all about the little things – midnight McDonalds, spontaneous dates, drinking in the daytime, holidays with friends. The best sort of little adventures that make life so bloody good, so bloody good because there’s no-one telling you, you can’t do it.
Being free means two things to me. I’m free because I’m 23 and therefore old enough to make my own decisions, and I’m free because I don’t have any weighty partner tying me down. No other half that drains me of all my ambition and spontaneity, and that feels blooming delicious.
In the scheme of things I’m not that confused. It’s more the fact that I am one of those people who choose to over-think everything. I like to blame it on the clever combo of intelligence, too much time on my hands (thanks lengthy commute) and a superbly developed emotional range – not forgetting my severe control issues too, obvs. I’m confused in a philosophical sort of way, questioning what life’s about, what the purpose of everything really is. I think it’s a natural stage of life to be in at this age. It’s a confusion over what life’s priorities should be, and right now, I’m ok with my constant questioning and confusion, it means I’m challenging myself, and that feels good.
There’s obviously two sides to my fore-mentioned ‘blooming delicious’ feeling. The down side of all this fore-mentioned freedom is the loneliness. Obviously it’s not the sort of crazy-old-widow-who-feeds-birds-bread-in-the-park sort of loneliness, because I’ve got so many best friends keeping me sane and feeling loved. It’s the loneliness that comes (disclaimer: don’t read this if you’re related to me) from a lack of spooning, a lack of sex (the proper sort, not just dirty one night stands), a lack of kissing, and a lack of having that one constant person there for you. I suppose the right word to use here would be that rather uncomfortable sounding adult word – intimacy.
Intimacy, is probably the sort of thing that makes the world go round once you’ve hit a certain age, and as of yet, I don’t think I’ve quite hit it – thank God. A lack of intimacy is probably the thing fuelling my one-off sulks (I had one yesterday afternoon, the hat, scarf and cuddly toy under the covers whilst listening to Snow Patrol kind), forcing me to consider exactly what would cure my loneliness. It’s those terrifying moments when you find yourself panicking over the realisation you’re alone, and you start to let your mind aggressively wander back to previous relationships/anyone who’s ever shown you attention/anyone who you could (even after 2 bottles of wine) find attractive. But that’s all ok, it’s hard to find the strength to be independent every minute of the day, and I believe it all comes as part of the healing process that follows a hefty break-up. My gut instinct (and past experiences) suggest that my little sulks will start to become less regular, and my i’m-lonely panics will eventually slow to an almost stop.
But for now, the only sensible thing to keep my loneliness at bay is to keep exhaustingly busy – thank God for friends, commuting and the gym, eh?
For this blog post, I’d like to thank Taylor Swift for her lyrical genius – you’ve really given me something to think about. Next up, Drake Doing it Wrong (babe of a break-up song – I suggest you all make yourself bezzies with the lyrics imminently).
Over and out kiddos.