Last Updated on: September 20, 2023
In high school, I always thought it was weird that my father never smiled in his pictures.
It was always curious that although he usually smiles in person, very few photos show otherwise. I just never thought that I would know the answer a decade later.
Being sentimental, I’ve collected many ID pictures through the years. The earliest was when I was in Grade 6, which has continued until now.
Looking at those pictures, I can see the progression of my smile.
I am generally a lively person who loves to joke around and hope for the future, but then one day, my smile disappeared.
I think the first peak of that hope was before I graduated college and had not yet returned.
It was surreal that whenever I saw my wide smile and crow’s feet wrinkles in my eyes, I still remember how I felt that the doors of opportunities would instantly open to meet my unrealistic expectations.
Table of Contents
Where Did It All Go Wrong?
I’m not exactly sure when, but it was after I passed the board exam.
I thought getting my license would bring happiness, but it did not.
I didn’t even know how to react then, but I screamed anyway to mimic other people’s feelings of accomplishment.
A few months later, I was still unemployed even when I thought I should have been selected for a job.
It was mostly pride and my unmet expectations that hurt me the most, and with it came disappointments – not just with myself but with the current structure of the “system.”
I know that I was privileged to be given a chance to take formal education and make my parents proud. Still, just months after graduation, I was already disillusioned.
The feeling of “what should I do next?” was heartbreaking, and with it, my smile faded. After a few more months, I was finally employed – just not where I thought I would be.
That was when I finally realized the heartbreaking reality of adulthood and the responsibilities and expectations that come with it – along with that realization was my smile fading away.
Just like what Paramore said in a song, “Ain’t it fun living in the real world?”
I am finally sharing the world that my parents are living in. Gone are the days when I could just play around and be merry. I needed to be an adult.
Reclaiming my smile
A few years later, I succeeded in my bouts with quarter-life crisis and started living a more meaningful life.
I am more alive than ever, knowing that God never left me when I felt down and utterly hopeless.
I can now laugh more freely, knowing that I am doing work with purpose – a higher calling than my previous soul-sucking job.
Find Joy In Little Things.
Looking at hindsight, I know that there are so many things that I might have done differently. These experiences may sometimes be called regrets, but I’d call them valuable lessons.
There are so many beautiful things in life, and I learned to always look at the bright side.
I know that the little things in life will gradually bring back my smile – not just in pictures but also in my heart.
If you also lose your smile, keep holding on and trust that God will never leave you and forsake you. Keep the faith.