Dear One-year-ago Maria . . . (Year Two)

Mar 3, 2015 by

Dear One-year-ago Maria,

          I’m sitting in the exact same spot you’re sitting in right now on the ledge of the fountain we love at the Fallsview Casino in Niagara, writing to the past  while trying not to publically tear in pride of how far I’ve come. And by “trying not to,” I mean that I already am. You are too. It’s okay. The out-of-place laptop outside of a casino draws attention away from our face, so we’re good. (Oh my God, speaking of laptops, I have a Mac, which means you’re going to have a Mac. Prepare yourself. Bright side: Unlike the laptop you’re using, mine starts when I turn it on.) Happy anniversary, by the way!

          In talking to year two of The Happiness Experiment, I’m going to be as cryptic as I can while still relaying accomplishment. I know we both hate spoilers. Surprises and spontaneity are more our things, and you’re about to create a lot of both. Heads up: You’re on the verge of a quarter-life crisis. Retrospectively, I can confidently say that’s the best way to describe age 24 for us. You think moving back to Mom and Dad’s is a big change? Oh girl, eat another piece of that free fudge you just scored. You’re about to learn a lot. Let me give you some peace of mind to go with that promise: Right now, you’re reflecting on how far you’ve come in the past year. You’re also wondering to yourself how you’re going to continue to progress at the same rate, given that you’ve already changed so much. Let me assure you, in the year to come, you will continue to evolve, and you will do so at an exponential rate.

          You’re going to go somewhere. I’m not going to tell you where (because that’s no fun!), but you’re going to go somewhere. The experience is going to alter your perspectives on many things. It’s going to teach you more about yourself or who you’re becoming or – probably more accurately – who you are in the moment (since people continuously change, as we’ve repeatedly proven). At the time, it’s going to feel like a situation that you just want to get out of. It isn’t going to feel like something that’s developing your character, because most of its teachings are realized after you leave. I’m still learning from it. I’m still encountering changes in the way I think as a result of it. It’s exciting. It reminds me of the beginning of The Happiness Experiment, when everything looked new to us.

          On the topic of change, I came across something I liked the other day on Instagram (you’re going to get Insta) that I know you’ll like too. Someone posted a picture with the caption, “What I tell anyone who meets me at this time in my life: ‘I’m going through a lot of significant changes and expansions in the best direction. Feeling happy and grateful for it.’” What I loved, though, was someone’s comment: “I think that’s the best time to meet someone.”

          To help you mentally prepare for the year to come, amongst many lessons I’ve learned, there are three standouts that I want you to have the in on: Life doesn’t follow plans. You know this, but you’re about to realize the extent of it, which helps you come to terms with another key learning: you can change your mind. Finally, and most essential to your ability to breathe, you don’t need to know the answers. Drill that last one into your head, because it should help you relax when anxiety makes its unwanted presence in your chest – or, forget I said anything, and learn for yourself. Life teaches better than words can.

          Before I forget, you and Olivia will be friends again. That, you need to know, because your heart has never broken over anyone the way I know it is breaking over her (no matter how positively you’re trying to look at the situation). To dispute your doubtfulness, in just the past week, I’ve seen her three times. See? All is well with the world.

          Oh, and about that guy you’re trying to push out of your mind, he’s not going to happen. He’ll be back, as you expect; but nothing will become of his words, as you already know. What you don’t know yet is that it’s about to get a hell of a lot harder to cope with him; but then, it’s going to get easier. It’s going to get easier, because you’re going to take self-respecting actions to maintain space, forgive him for repeatedly reappearing and disappearing, and regain the bit of confidence that you will lose in the process of being rejected by him with finality. I’m not going to lie to you. He still comes to my mind, but not nearly as frequently as he comes to yours. Thus, I promise you progress. I promise you a boost in happiness after the slight dip that’s going to happen first. That’s life, right? Our opportunity to laugh at our stressors while learning how to adapt in favour of happiness.

          One last thing: I believe two-years-ago me/one-year-ago you deserves another round of applause for getting off the floor. She is the reason you are who you are and I am who I am: a beautiful experiment in happiness that far exceeded her expectations.

Happiness Tip: Make yourself proud.

Love always,


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