A Happy September

Sep 30, 2013 by

          You may recall that, in April, I was considering going back to school with the intention of entering a profession, the only case in which I feel that a university education is practically applicable. After some anxiety and hyperventilation, I decided against it. I declined my three offers, forgetting about them until the school year began earlier this month, never having regretted my choice. Giving up the chance to go to school for the pursuit of happiness was no doubt the right decision for me. Had I chosen school, The Happiness Experiment would not exist as it does today. I would have worked like a slave, deprived myself of all spending money, and tried to juggle my education and my full-time job in a desperate attempt to financially and academically survive, struggling to attain a career that doubled as a backup plan for not yet having found a lucrative passion. Essentially, choosing school would have been the equivalent of ending The Happiness Experiment before giving it a legitimate chance. At the time, I was questioning everything that I did and whether or not it reflected what I truly wanted. I knew that I did not want to be sitting in a classroom come this September. I knew that I wouldn’t derive happiness through textbooks, making me unprepared to go back to campus. Instead of further education, I strove for happiness and found it. No degree could ever give me that.

          Despite my decision to skip class, by the time Labour Day weekend rolled around, back-to-school panic set in. Thanks to the traumatic levels of dread that I experienced each September of university, the Septembers following my exit from post-secondary school have been plagued with the same sensation of fear – fear of going back to the institution that stole me away from my once beloved Toronto (my, how things change), fear of living in the house that held me hostage in the depths of depression, and fear of being forgotten as I sunk back into the bubble that was university life. No matter how irrational these fears are now that school is behind me, this September, I nervously anticipated my world to come falling from its newfound high, splattering the floor with mere remnants of happiness. I was genuinely afraid that The Happiness Experiment would not survive the month.

          Prior to The Happiness Experiment, anytime that I’ve had a hope in hell of experiencing a glimpse of happiness has been during the summers. Summer, my favourite time of year, provides ample opportunity to socialize, with the warm weather drawing people out of winter hibernation. I am not naive to the fact that the flourishing state of The Happiness Experiment coincided with the onset of summer. Unsuccessfully trying to block this reality out of my mind as the days turned from August to September, Labour Day weekend took my emotions for a ride. I had attributed the success of The Happiness Experiment to a season that was coming to a close, scaring me into thinking that the end of my happiness was fast approaching.

          This was unacceptable. I would not let September be a restraint. That weekend, I began scheduling social plans to take me to the end of the month. In addition to making plans, I impulsively connected with new people. As a result of these two actions, this September, I embraced spontaneity – twice (Yes, I saw the guy from Niagara again on Saturday night. In short, this time, we were successful.); I went on a last-minute weekend trip to Punta Cana; I joined four people I met walking down the street for drinks; and I autonomously attended a food event, resulting in an all-nighter spent baking SmashCake frozen cheesecake sandwiches. These experiments in happiness, all yielding fabulous results, don’t even do justice to all of the other things I’ve done this month, which include, but are not limited to, hunting down freebies at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), watching the Jays play the LA Angels, and witnessing the Leafs literally beat the Buffalo Sabres (hockey is unbelievably violent!). Therefore, September has been just as insightful and happiness-filled as the summer months leading up to it. Fear is evidently an excellent motivator.

Happiness Tip: Do not let the calendar dictate your life.

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