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Choices today affect long term happiness

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Erica Crossen
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Frequently I sit down and examine myself in depth to really find what it is that would make me happy, both in the long run and just to conquer this week. Starting with those essential facts about myself helps me figure out what to start running toward.

Our time is precious, and what we consider doing with that time should be a reflection of our priorities in terms of the goals we want to achieve. So how do we set up our future selves to benefit from the actions we take today?

Improving physical fitness is part of my answer, both as a stress reliever and to be ready to keep up with friends for upcoming 5k runs I have planned. Lacing up and embracing the Illinois balminess to reach that next personal best run time is one goal I aspire toward.

Physical fitness is a priority, but it isn't the only factor in Comprehensive Airman Fitness. Self-care is really what it comes down to, and the mental, social and spiritual outlets have to be fulfilled as part of that journey.

Variety is the spice of life, right? So, having participated in Outdoor Recreation activities before, I just know there are unique experiences just waiting to be had. Going on the trips they provide, such as jumping out of an aircraft at 10,000 feet, or cycling around with a group offers a relaxed time to meet new people. In these months where the best thing is to be outside, that's one scene you'll find me in.

One important favor I can do for my future self is to put in the hard work now, and that doesn't just go for PT, it's in the books. I have piles and piles of thick college textbooks, and thank goodness they're rentable or free in some cases at the Education Center, because they can be expensive. My goal is to complete two Associate's degrees in progress, so that's just a matter of putting in that time and effort for homework. Who knows? I may just walk away after a Psychology class understanding people just a little bit better.

Classes don't have to be the obligatory type to earn a degree. Taking a class can definitely be an option to take on a new hobby that I've always been interested in but never took the first step to learn. It is therapeutic to pick up a paint brush, feel clay run through fingers, or strum out musical notes to a song. Looking at the list of classes going on at the Arts and Crafts Center, it really just comes down to decisiveness, in terms of what I would like to learn first. A life without expression is committing emotional suicide, so what better time than now to find an outlet to be creative?

All of these upcoming activities are part of a delicate balancing act, but with a little planning and setting aside time for self-care, I can incorporate these win-win opportunities into my life that will benefit me, both personally and professionally.