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I think I've been misleading lately. I mean, not intentionally -- I have just been trying to purvey a more genuine sense of overall happiness. This is not to say that I haven't been happy... but I can't help but feel guilty. I mean -- I never wanted to be a happy person.

When I was a younger lad, I was really into the whole angst thing. I was convinced that by doing my best to show melancholy and distaste towards everything possible, I would somehow escape becoming a sheep -- a lemming with no original ideas or insights. I don't think that I ever had a real hero, but I know that The Catcher In The Rye was my favorite person, and if there was one person with whom I associated most with during those formative years, it was definitely Holden Caulfield -- An object of fiction.

I used to revel in pain. I used to think that I was, in effect, the most sorrowful person that ever existed, and that no one understood me because I had been through so much more bad stuff than them. I actually believed this for many years! It almost got to the point that when something else bad would happen to me, I was near elation because it meant that I had one more thing to put on my mopey resumé!

This last year, however, I realized that my earlier "pain", which I thought to be so immense, was really nothing. It's amazing how quickly your attitudes about life change when you are faced with real pain. My life became the classic Country and Western song: I lost everything I had, including my malaise. It just seemed that somehow the pain that I was feeling from the things that were happening to me would be almost disrespected by feeling that old feeling of "Mopey Woe". My oldest friend, the feeling that I was somehow out of sorts with the rest of society, was gone -- and I was left with, literally, nothing.

So what does one do when they don't feel appropriate about feeling the way they've felt for so long? I don't really know. I know what I did, though -- I started to see the good things around me in the world that I had taken for granted for all that time. I started to actually feel better, even though I had gone through this year-long ordeal that left me a strange shadow of my former self. I started to smile more. I started to joke around with my friends. I was really cheerful at work for once, instead of just faking it. When left to my own devices, I didn't think of how dark things were and how lonely I was -- I thought instead of how good I had it now, and how liberating letting myself be happy for once really felt.

But here is my dilemma: I now feel like I am somehow cheapening my former self. I mean - I was obviously full of shit then in a lot of ways, but at least I was... I don't know... interesting to myself. That's the problem: I bore myself now. I've gotten through the ordeals that troubled me so much earlier in the year, and now, I sit and think about (usually) good things that make me happy. I don't get angry anymore. Perhaps this lends itself to the theory that I don't have much in the way of self-esteem (whatever that is), but I'm actually concerned that although I am much better happy than gloomy, I could possibly die that cheerful, upbeat sheep that I despised so much before all of this happened. I'm afraid that I "Just don't get it" anymore.

Perhaps I just don't know myself at all yet. It's good not to be "Grown up".

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