I am slowly learning what it means to be okay.
It seemed to be an unfading happiness, a joy that tears could never squelch. An inextinguishable self-love. An indubitably fulfilling life.
“Okay” was a panacea, a remedy for every conceivable personal ill. A life devoid of problems, mental roadblocks, and perpetual sadness. It was health. It was love. It was perfection. It was a journey; extraordinarily simplistic at first appearance, but nearly impossible to reach.
The seemingly perfect “okay” I sought was nothing but a fantasy, an ideal conceptualization awash in a haze of temptingly alluring lies. I am slowly discovering that being okay is an art form, a balancing act, a dance, a marriage of joy and melancholy.
It’s no longer feeling numb in the wake of life’s problems, but never being fully able to reach the glowing warmth of true happiness. It’s an ember that gradually warms the heart but gradually flickers out as the sadness returns to envelop your mind.
It’s refusing to hate your body and your mind, but not fully loving yourself. It’s looking in the mirror, acknowledging your appearance and walking away as you valiantly fight off the negative thoughts that are bound to invade your mind and refuse to let go.
It’s wondering if you should leave your job, but convincing yourself to stay. It’s resolving to make the most of your circumstances instead of seeking a new path. It’s accepting your decision not to move forward without true happiness, but without regret.
It’s resigning yourself to a life of “almost relationships.” It’s constantly bouncing between “single” and “it’s complicated” without constantly thinking about finding “the one.” It’s seeing an influx of engagements and marriages, but no longer wondering when your will find your forever person.
It’s acknowledging that your life proceeds on its own timeline. It’s no longer wishing that you were somewhere else in life, even though you don’t love where you currently stand. It’s attempting not to compare yourself to others, even if you don’t always succeed.
It’s complacency. It’s resignation. It’s acceptance.
It’s feeling caught in a hazy limbo between who you are and who you could become, not seeking out change, but no longer feeling completely numb as you ponder your life choices. It’s feeling joy and sadness in tandem as you reflect on your life. It’s experiencing the contentment that arrives after tremendous pain, the simple sparks of emotion that remind you that you are sentient.
Being okay is embracing the monotony inherent in living. Being okay is knowing that no matter where you are or how you feel, you are enough.
This article originally appeared on Thought Catalog.