I’m Happy…Aren’t You?


May 31, 2017

This year has honestly been one of the worst and most challenging years I’ve encountered so far in my 20 years of existence. Surprised? Me too. 

So what happened? Well… I was forced to end my athletic career after 15 consecutive years in order to pursue my passions. That was hard as a sophomore. I had to re-socialize and find friends outside of my normal circle. I suddenly wasn’t on a normal schedule anymore. I spent my free time working to make up for my lost athletic scholarship money. And I was constantly stressed. 

That sucked.

I skipped meals. I stayed cooped up inside when I should’ve been working out or finding things to do with friends. I completely mentally and physically exhausted myself with homework, shoots and work. I worked a minimum of four jobs at any given time and had 3-8 photoshoots per week on top of my regular school schedule. My body was responding terribly. 

Throughout the year, my best friend kept saying, “Matty, this is the most stressed and sad I think I’ve ever seen you.” I didn’t do anything about it for months. 

At this point I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m telling you this. It’s because people had no idea. I put on a facade to keep up my appearance that I had everything together – and I didn’t. I was broken, discouraged, and confused. 

Social media is exhausting. It paints a perfect life – a life that doesn’t fully exist. People tell me they see my work and think, “You make me ask myself what I’m doing with my life. You’re so put together.” It’s not what it seems like. Yes, I dress like I post…but I’m not always as happy or inspired as it may seem online. Just like everyone else, my happiness and creativity ebbs and flows. 

By the end of the year I really took the time to re-evaluate myself, the people I was surrounding myself with, and the person I wanted to be. I’d realized I wasn’t volunteering as much as I had in the past, I wasn’t exercising, my eating habits were suffering, and I was surrounded with negative energy. 

How did I fix it?

I removed myself from toxic acquaintances, started attending yoga class and worked out more frequently, started eating more fruits and veggies, and found a place to volunteer at regularly next school year. 

I woke up this morning so happy. And as I got ready for work this morning, I wondered why that was. Here is what I found:

I’m happy that I was gifted another day – another chance. 

I’m happy to have a roof over my head and food to eat.

I’m happy to live with my two loving parents this summer. 

I’m happy for the ability to fill my lungs with fresh mountain air.

I’m happy that I’m happy. 

It’s honestly been over a year since I’ve been this happy. The mere fact that both you and I were gifted another day should be reason enough to be happy. 

So how am I, you ask? 

I’m grateful. 

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