Since we are beginning our relationship as columnist and… columnees, I thought it would be fair to tell you a few things about myself. You know, as a way of getting to know each other.
I am a sophomore, an English and history major and a lover of bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. If you just got that “Sound of Music” reference, you’re way cooler than you know. And don’t let ANYONE tell you differently.
The point of all this is to tell you my super awesome new goal for this year (because I love goals.… Don’t look at me like that, I got it from my father). Get ready. Here it is. My goal for this year is to be happy. Joyful. Blissful. Contented. Positively giddy.
Sounds simple, right? It really isn’t. Though I claim to be as deliriously over-the-moon in love with this school as the next Cameron Crazie, in all honesty, it can be hard to maintain a grounded and healthy perspective amidst the constant flood of classes, extracurriculars and social events. Sometimes I just need to come up for air, slow down and reevaluate what I’m doing. This is why I’ve written the Addie Navarro Guide to Happiness (trademark pending), mainly for myself but maybe some of you will find it useful, too.
Step one: honesty. It is important to be honest with yourself when figuring out what makes you happy. That sounds guidance counselor-ish, but it really is true. For a long time, I tried to make myself happy by doing what I saw a lot of other people doing. That included dressing up in tight clothing, drinking some god-awful mix of Aristocrat and soda and jogging for exercise. This year, I’m going to be honest with myself and with my loyal readers who are hopefully not skimming down to the end right about now.
The Truth: I strongly dislike going out more than about once a week (and that one night better be rockin’), I would rather drink cat pee than Crat, and my idea of a fun night is me, some friends, my awesome socks and a “30 Rock” marathon. Also, jogging sucks. So does High-intensity interval training. So does spin.
Step two: sleep. For the love of God, get some sleep. Everyone. Now. Naptime is now. No sleep equals no smiles and no fun and no sanity. Also, for all you skinny you-know-whats who aren’t listening to me right now, not getting enough sleep also makes you fatter. It’s science.
Step three: amigos. Friends are the greatest. I don’t need to explain why—they just are. It’s healthy to connect with a group of individuals you feel drawn to, and it’s also a huge happiness booster. According to the documentary “Happy” (which everyone needs to go watch right this second), the happiest people are those who have strong relationships with friends and family. That being said, it’s crucial to do that whole honesty thing with yourself and make sure that the people you call friends are people who you actually enjoy being with, make you feel confident and, of course, make you happy. As my father, the sage, has pointed out to me many a time, not every friend has to be a lifelong friend. Some friends are only going to last the duration of college, or maybe even just a semester, or maybe even just O-week. It’s okay to let some “meh” friendships go in exchange for some truly awesome and meaningful ones.
Step four: passion. In my opinion, I think the most attractive people are those who care deeply for something. We as Duke students have no shortage of drive and ambition but sometimes that ambition can get misplaced. This would explain why I decided to take Intro to Philosophy the first semester of my freshman year because I thought it was just one of those classes you should take in college. Wrong. I had WAY more fun taking an African drumming class second semester even though people laughed at me when I told them. Djembe is fantastic and Professor Bradley Simmons is the man. (Am I earning that A yet?)
Step five: Do something crazy. And I don’t mean like keg-stand crazy. There is so much to do in Durham once you step off this campus and look around. Go out to a new restaurant, sign up for a pole tease class (Anyone?... Anyone?) or go on a hike. You’ve got a lot of options, and WeCars are cheap and bike rentals are free. You have no excuse not to go and try mixing things up.
So there are my five steps for happiness. Please do as I say and not as I do.
Addie Navarro is a Trinity sophomore. Her column runs every other Friday.