Clearly part of what we desire in life is to be happy. Perhaps it is all we really desire. From wanting others approval, to wanting a lover, to marriage, children, career- the Western approached to happiness is a clear path you just need to follow, make the right decisions about who to do all this with, and you too will be happy.
Two marriages later, I am not sure about the path. I still believe it can bring happiness. But like every choice in life, everyone we make is also a choice not to do something else, not to take a different path.
For a long time I have been a believer in positive thought and self-manifestation. I see myself as a generally positive person, I see myself as happy, therefore I am. I have controlled this by stating it is what is and by manifesting this belief. But, to be totally honest, there are days I am not satisfied with myself. There are moments I know I have chosen poorly and had to deal with the consequences, which honestly were not that pleasant and could have been avoided if I had been honest enough with myself about reality instead of stubbornly clinging to myself declared happiness.
I think about this with school as well. I believe I am intelligent- even when my grades did not always show that. I also think I like to write, but that doesn’t mean I am a good technical writer for public health. If I am not honest with myself about my shortcomings- my poor choice in mates in the past, my lack of technical writing skills, etc, I will choose to believe I am happy (and will probably be ignorantly happy at the moment) but I also chose to not try to improve the things I need to be working on. And these things take time, focus, attention, and a sense of dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs to feel motivated to change.
So, part of Jen 2.0 will be, to be honest with herself- if I am not happy, I will not be afraid to identify that, and speak its truth, so that I can choose to do something about it. I wonder at times if this sense of being a fake in doctoral school is related to this. We are all asked to do things we have never done before and to do them like we are an expert. We know we are not, yet we need to pretend we are to become that person. (Like pretending we are happy when we know deep inside we are not). This sense of lack of authenticity, of knowing what is within does not match the air we are presenting without, creates a sense of feeling like we are faking it. Perhaps it is necessary, but with a healthy dose honestly and humility within ourselves.