I believe that everyone deserves happiness, I think most of us do. I also believe that a good chunk of happiness and achieving it comes from ourselves and the way we view things. I have always been a very optimistic, care-free and positive person and when I left little old, mill weary Oldham to come to Lancaster to study I took that positivity with me, and learnt to share and multiply it with the company of good, honest friends, like Amy and Joe.

Surely but surely with hard work, love, dedication and friendship we built for ourselves a happy  University bubble in our little house. A place free of judgement, unhappiness and pressure for us to relax, laugh and grow. We had no reason to believe that leaving University should change that, but it did. Leaving University is, I believe an underwhelming time, well a least after graduation has died down. Suddenly, you’re faced with the next step, the thing that if you’re anything like Amy and I, you’ve been both dreading and avoiding like the plague. Then we started work for a conglomerate, taking the first (not only) job that was offered to us. For the first few months the job was bearable, but pretty soon the tide shifted- it became soul-destroying.

When we weren’t  being yelled at by customers (it was call centre work) we we’re being shouted at by our managers, the very people who were meant to support and nurture us. The job very quickly consumed us, no longer were we loud, positive, happy creative people, but unhappy, empty people pressured into pursuing unethical sales. Every morning we would wake up unhappy, and drained, every night we would go to bed bloated from unhealthy quick to make animal product filled food, and cry. We turned our bodies into graveyards, which gave us a standard of living so bad that we started feeling physically ill. I had a period that lasted two weeks which left me unable to move without being in agony.

Then the bullying started, bit by bit each day, as though trying to delicately smoke us out. Amy and I are strong women but after a while we didn’t know how much more we could take. Work brought no joy for us, instead only sadness, insecurity and fear. So after much debate we took charge of our lives again, we left. Me first, then Amy a month or so later, to  ensure we had other jobs and enough money to see us through. Getting back to a place of happiness and worthiness was hard, and not an overnight thing. It seemed as though the sky was perpetually dark from the hole we were in.

But we persevered- We told ourselves we were graduates from a ‘Top 10 English University’, with a plethora of talents and hopes and dreams- but saying that and believing it are very different things. Slowly but surely, we got to a happier place, we went completely vegan after flirting with the idea on and off (obviously) started eating more veggies and fruit, got out more, painted, wrote and laughed more, and slowly but surely we got there, or rather here, back to the real us, happy, positive and bubbly.

I put our happiness down to a veritable feast of things, getting more creative really helped, but nothing comes close to the way eating whole and healthy food makes us feel. Though we are at the beginning of our journey, Veganism has given us more energy, made us happier, and of course made us more aware and comfortable with our ethical food decisions.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I believe everyone deserves happiness, and 2016 has been the year of re-realising that.

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