Happiness in a Nutshell

Jennifer - Rolling Meadows, Illinois
Entered on May 11, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe that happiness doesn’t come in the form of a gift, tightly wrapped in too expensive wrapping paper and heavily adorned with bows, ribbons, and glitter (I could never get that stuff off me anyway). As I started thinking about my future, especially since I decided where I was going to college, my mind was immediately drawn to a profession in the medical field. I started planning for my life until I realized, “why was being a doctor or having a career in the medical field so important?” It wasn’t because I l wanted to help people because if I had wanted to advance the human population, I would volunteer my free time in the Peace Corps or on a Honduras missions trip and consider it enjoyable rather than burdensome. “Helping people” and the perception of philanthropy were poor excuses for making a boatload of money and being so enviably successful that it’s disgusting.

But the lives we’re leading are so incredibly short, and yet, at only the age of eighteen, my life’s only starting. But why was it so important that I become a doctor? Will it truly make me happy or am I just pursuing this profession to make my parents happy?

I remember showering my mom with future ideals: I would buy her a cruise vacation for her and my father when I raked in the money, and she, in turn, would boast about my accomplishments, telling all of her friends that her first child was a doctor—end of conversation.

Ever since I was a young child, I had always wanted to become a doctor, with the occasional oscillation amongst the ideas of becoming an interior architect or writer or hobo. The idea of becoming a doctor has been so instilled in me, I feel like there’s no other options to find a career in. I thought I had wanted to become a medical researcher before I realized how little money they made compared to a professional orthodontist or optometrist. And during the environmental awareness trend, I thought I wanted to become an environmental scientist, help the environment. But again, would I get the same recognition as a doctor if I became an environmental scientist? Did I even care enough to go to such lengths as to “save” our environment? (This coming from the girl who’s too lazy to recycle her empty cans of soda and unplug her electrical appliances).

The cliché answer to what I would ultimately want for my future is happiness, and I have still yet to find what makes me happy. I wish I could become a couch potato and get fat and lazy, but I feel like that would be the conformist non-conformist answer to being happy. So what if becoming successful would make me happy? I truly enjoy biology and chemistry and want to work hard to reach a finish line that most people can’t even attempt. I’ll be happy in a medical profession, I’m sure of that.