Last week I asked a friend of mine who is living abroad in Germany if she thought she was where she was supposed to be, and she answered that was sure 95% of the time. I started wondering about that 5% and what it was that made her unsure, but stopped myself. I instead switched my question and asked her if she was happy. She told me that the days had their tough times, but at the end of the day she was happy. I think that was the better question.
My last year at Harvard, I felt as though I constantly saw people thinking hard about their future with a face that seemed to say: But what if I make the wrong decision and I fail? Harvard is a place that breeds a culture of always having to know what you will be doing to the next millionth step in front of you. It is a culture that does not teach its students very well that sometimes they are not going to have the perfect answers and they are going to fail. But just as my friend answered that she was 95% sure she was meant to be in Germany right now, I have learned that it is less a question of dwelling on that last 5%, but more a question of figuring out what makes me happy. And failure—well sometimes that comes with the territory of going after what I want because happiness is not always a straight and narrow path with obvious answers.
Happiness has been the hot topic between my friend Melissa and myself this year, and I am sure to return to the topic many times. I have decided that even if it doesn’t always make sense to others or is the apparent answer, as long as I am not intentionally hurting anyone in my quest, I must always move toward happiness. What makes me happy also makes me rise in the morning with a smile on my face and sigh with contentment at the close of the day. And when I can’t have everything around me at once that make me happy, I wish and work for the days in which I can have those people and those things around me again. I move towards them.
I realize that I’m not always going to have the right answers, nor am I always going to do what might be best to do, no matter how hard I try. But I do know the one thing I can do for myself is to seek the beauty that comes with feeling joy and happiness. Because 95% IS perfection, as long as there is happiness within it.