Am I Happy? (Thoughts One Year After Graduating)

Over the past few months I’ve often thought that I’m happier than I’ve ever been before. And in some ways I am. I have a boyfriend for the first time in my life and I’m so in love that I feel like I’m going crazy. When we’re together, I’m having a great time. But are those moments enough for me to say that I’m truly happy?

I graduated from college one year ago and moved home to return to my summer job at the sandwich shop while I looked for a more permanent job. But twelve months later, I’m still here with my parents. Still working in that damn sandwich shop. The only change is that I’m now in a relationship… with someone who is still in college and who lives a five-hour drive away. Some nights, that feels like no difference at all.

I look back at pictures from college and my time studying abroad, and sometimes they make me smile. But a lot of the time they make me really sad. I haven’t seen most of my good friends from college since last August, and I haven’t seen those who I wasn’t as close to since graduating. The random greetings on Facebook just don’t seem to be enough to sustain a friendship, especially when I live too far away to visit.

There was a time – pretty much all of high school – when I didn’t have any friends at all, and I was incredibly lonely. Now I’m back in this town that I tried so hard to escape, and I feel like I’ve lost all of the friends that I worked so hard to gain over the past few years. I have my boyfriend and I keep in touch with two of my closest college friends via Facebook message, and that helps. It’s not as bad as it used to be, but it feels like it’s going in that direction.

It’s like I took fifty steps forward over four years, and now I’ve taken twenty steps backwards in one year.

When I think about college, I think about all that I’ve lost. How I used to live, and how I live now. I miss nights in my friends’ apartment watching crappy movies and spilling red wine on the white carpet. I miss English club meetings on Monday nights, talking about our favorite books and movies. I miss pep band on Saturday afternoons and cheering for our team even though the sport makes no sense to me. I miss late night chats with my roommate about every strange topic imaginable.

I miss it all more than I can say.

But I think I’m finally starting to move in the right direction again. If I’m not happy now, I’m on my way to getting there again.

I’ll be starting grad school in two months, and it cannot come soon enough. It took a long time for me to make the decision to return to school and pursue a career in education. But now that I’ve decided, I’m one hundred percent certain that it is what I want to do – and that it is what I should do.