Recently, a member of one of the web forums I browse posed a poll question: Are you happy? I checked "yes" without a moment's hesitation.
Then I began to read responses from other users who quibbled over whether they were "happy" or merely "content" and it dawned on me: I'm HAPPY!
When I was a depressed, somewhat emo-ish-before-"emo"-existed-teen, I used to fill journal after journal with my ridiculous ramblings. Mostly overly sentimental poetry, complaints about stuff, and fluctuating crushes on member of the opposite sex. However, every few pages or so, the words, "I just want to be happy," would appear, underlined or made all caps. I was aching, yearning, starving for the joy that now comes so easily.
Do I have bad days or moments? Sure.
But I'm so full of genuine bliss these days that I can't believe it. Seriously, I wake up singing and dancing. If my sixteen year old self could see me now, she'd be wild with envy.
When I see my students struggling with the same awful, stressful pain that I felt, I want to tell them, assure them in some way, that life will get better. You can be happy. You just have to learn how.