Smile Through It II: The Next Chapter

Chasing dreams, because I can

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On Happiness

Posted by Oli on Monday 30th November, 2009

Happiness is an often elusive thing. It is at once indefinable and definite – you just know when you’re happy. It’s also vital to life. Or at least to mine.

A long time ago, pre-transplant before I was seriously ill, I promised myself that I would never have “just a job” – that I would always do something that made me happy. It didn’t matter to me if that was street sweeping, rubbish collecting or running the biggest company in the country; if I was happy that’s where I’d want to be.

This has come back to me over the last few weeks and months up in Liverpool. The ultimate truth is that I’m just not happy up here.

The decision to come to university was made in a rush of confused feelings about my past, my present and my future. At the time it seemed like a great option for me to explore what life is like outside the confines I’d previously lived in and that life as a student – something I’d missed out on when I was still in my teens being too ill to go – would suit me and re-energise me.

The theory behind the decision to come to LIPA was sound: I’d always wanted to come and when I saw the place in clearing I leaped at the chance to be a part of an institute I’d always wanted to go to. I didn’t, however, consider well enough the value of the course to the way I see my life panning out.

LIPA is a remarkable place – the people, the building, the students, the tutors, the shows: all outstanding. But it’s not the right place for me to be.

I’ve been unhappy here for nearly as long as I’ve been up here and it’s taken me a long time to reach the decision that I’ve come to. In the end, though, the opportunity to come back and start the rest of my life with my wonderful, devoted and utterly beloved K combined with the chance to pursue a project I’ve wanted to push through for well over 3 years was too good to turn down.

K and I have been through rough times in the last six months or so. We’ve been through rough times in our own, individual lives; we’ve been through tough times in our relationship and we’ve been through hard times in our lives together. But we’ve come out of it stronger and more supportive than we’ve ever been.

When I came back South a few weeks ago, I had a long chat over lunch to two of our closest friends who, when I aired my views about Liverpool, came up with one singular piece of advice: follow your heart and not your head.

I have spent too much time in the last few months thinking through everything. Wondering about what my family would think, what K’s family would think, what my friends would think and – most important of all – what my donor and their family would think. What it comes down to is this:

I want to do something that makes my donor proud to have bestowed this gift on me. And sitting up in Liverpool, miles from the woman and the people that I love and living 3 years of an already-shortened life being unhappy just isn’t right.

So it is with a heavy heart, but high hopes that I take my leave of Liverpool and LIPA later on today. It’s been a great ride: Wind in the Willows was an amazing show to work on and I’ve made some firm friends. But it’s time for me to do what’s right for me, regardless of what anyone may think or feel about it.

Am I sad to be leaving? Yes. Am I disappointed in myself? I am a little. Am I excited about what comes next? You betcha.

After everything that’s happen this week, there has never been a more important time for me to dedicate myself to the life I want. The life that makes me happy.

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9 Responses to “On Happiness”

  1. Emma said

    It’s a hard lesson honey but, what is life without happiness…

    Proud of you xxx

  2. Emily said

    Following your heart seems to me to be the most sensible compass you can use on a journey as utterly confusing as life is. You and K are wonderful together and since you’ve fought through all the hardships, you deserve to now enjoy some of the incredible and positive experiences life will throw your way together. Re your donor: keep loving your life and you’re doing the right thing – making the most out of your gift.

    Big hug, I imagine this is a hard time. Thinking of you. x

  3. jacqui said

    Good luck with your next step.

  4. Alice said

    I’m sorry to hear it dodn’t work out but I definitely think you’ve mde the right decision – the gift your donor gave you was your life and as long as you lead it exactly as you want it then you are cherishing it.

    That must have been a horribly tough decision but you should be proud you’ve been brave enough to say ‘no, this isn’t for me right now’.

    I’m excited to hear what’s next for you in your ongoing adventure of life!

    Axx

  5. Suze said

    You know what I believe xxxx

  6. Jac said

    Life really is far too short to be unhappy. It was still another experience for you and not in anyway a failure. you tried it out and you realised that home is where the heart is! Good luck with the next step in your journey 🙂

  7. suzie said

    I think your being happy is the biggest tribute you could ever pay to your donor and thier family Oli. Well done for making the right decision, I’m kind of on a decision making journey myself and I know how confusing it can get. Much love to you and K.

  8. Pauline said

    Oli, every breath you take makes your donor proud. Please don’t feel that you have some obligation to do something amazing or unusual or outstanding. You don’t. You need to live, be happy and be grateful for your gift. No more, no less. Follow your heart and know that you have lots of love and support around you. Much love to you bothxxxxxx

  9. elaine griffin said

    really tough decision to make but good on you for having the guts to do it and follow what you want to do. would be nice to meet up for a natter over christmas if you’ve got a spare hour or two anywhere xx

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