Summer of Happiness

You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.” Matt. 5:5 (MSG)


One of the most American parts of me is my constant desire for self-improvement. I like taking on new projects that will improve my life and make me a better person – health challenges, Sign Language classes, fitness goals, writing schedules; the list goes on and on. The goal of my gap year was to figure out my passion and purpose; for my first year of college, it was being a kind and good person; this past year, it was getting my grades where I wanted them to be. And every time a new school year or summer begins, I take a step back and think, in what area of my life would I most like to improve now?

As a result, I can’t sit still. I always have to be working on something, whether it be a novel, a blog post, or a final paper. There are positives to this, of course: I’m never bored, and I have lots of fun projects to do. But the goals and challenges, while they’ve helped me improve in lots of ways, have also sent a less positive message: you are never good enough. Fitness challenge? Be healthier. Writing goals? Work more. Grades? You can always do better.

Not this summer.

After one heck of a rough semester, I want some “time off” of self-improvement. I want to enjoy my summer for what it is: a few months of work and sunshine before I head off to one of the most challenging universities in the world. No charts and schedules; no hidden agenda. I want to take a step back and remind myself that I was created as I am – clumsy, imperfect, growing upwards – for a reason. And that that growth always happens accidentally, in the spaces between my plans. It happens when I least expect: when I am with a friend and I am suddenly reminded of what it means to love unconditionally; when I feel myself letting go of an old hurt or grudge; when I unplug, open my eyes, and let myself see the immense beauty of the world around me, which I too often take for granted.

It’s a beautiful life. I want to take those moments to heart, and remember that for all my plans, my true growth happens in the ways I least expect. Writing, cooking, working out – it’s all great and important, and it helps me make the most of my short time on this earth. But what’s important, too, is balance; to work hard, but also to be grateful for what we’ve been given and for the people we already are.

So this summer, I am letting go a little bit. I am doing my best to appreciate my life and let the growth happen on its own.

I guess you could call it my new self-improvement project. (;

Sara Laughed

I'm Sara, a writer, programmer, and American in the Netherlands. This blog is about my life, discoveries, and mistakes. Follow along, and thank you for stopping by!

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