Believe it or not, as cheesy and cliché as this is going to sound, my answer?
I don't think anything makes me happier or feel more fulfilled than when I get the opportunity to "be there" for someone else. I love knowing that I have made someone's day brighter, that I have made a difference to someone in some way. I don't care if it's helping someone study, or just listening to them vent about a problem, or anything else, I just want to be doing something.
I told a friend in a conversation one day that if I can die knowing that I made a difference to even ONE person, then I can die feeling as if I have succeeded.
Case in point: There are only two guys in my Water Aerobics class. I'm not gonna lie, getting to watch two good-looking guys work out is a part of the reason why I like this class. ;) Their names are Blake and Kerry. I don't remember ever seeing Blake before, but I vividly remember seeing Kerry all over campus many many times over the past two years, I just never had a good reason to talk to him before because I don't think we've ever had class together.
Well, today after class, those two and Chelsea and I were all leaving the pool at the same time. They both waited and held the doors open for us, which was an automatic point in my book because I feel like I don't see that very often anymore. :) We talked for a minute as we headed out and it was kind of funny because when I asked them their names, they asked mine and Chelsea's, and then Blake said, "Nice to meet you. Well, that sounds weird, being in class together 3 weeks and saying 'nice to meet you.' I guess, nice to know your name." Sorry, I guess you had to be there.
Anyway, I promise I'm getting to the relevant part. When I got back to my room and sat down to cool off for a minute (70+ degrees on February 1st, welcome to NC), I remembered Blake's last name from hearing Mr. Burckhardt call roll, so I looked him up on Facebook (isn't that what everyone does nowadays? hello, social media age), found Kerry on his friends list because I knew they were friends and added him, too. They both relatively quickly accepted the requests (which was nice because for a minute I was afraid it'd come off weird), and I did the also-usual reading of their Facebook profiles. That was when I noticed something on Kerry's.
He lost his dad in the not too distant past. Almost immediately, something in my head said "Reach out to him." It may have been God, it may not, who knows, but I did it. Because I know how quiet people can keep subjects like this, how lonely it can feel, how it's something that you can't totally understand unless you've been through it. So I sent him a simple Facebook message.
"hey :) thanks for accepting the friend request. I was looking around at your facebook and saw that you lost your dad not too long ago. so I just wanted to tell you that I've been there, I lost my dad several years ago and his birthday was actually on sunday, and if you ever need to talk to someone who gets it, I love to listen to people. I mean, I know that guys usually don't like to talk about their feelings and such, but this is a really crappy situation, and I know how hard the pain can be, so I just thought I'd put the offer out there that I'm here if you ever do need someone. have a good day. :)"
He literally INSTANTLY wrote back a thank you, saying that he'd "definitely keep that in mind".
Who knows if he'll need me. That's not what I care about. What I care about is knowing that I simply offered. Because I was so young when my dad passed away, I don't think I really started processing it all till a few years later, when I hit that awkward pre-teen/teenage stage when I didn't want to talk to my family, and I had no friends, and I often wished I had someone who would listen to how much the grief sucked.
Part of me feels like I wouldn't have been doing my dad and the story losing him has given me justice if I hadn't said anything. Does that sound crazy? I guess what I mean is that I'm trying to make something good out of it, and helping people is what I know I can always do, or at least offer to do.
So yeah, that's the highlight of my day. Or at least the only recap-worthy part of it.
P.S. I'm not gonna lie. My love language is words of affirmation. I like knowing someone needs me. That's probably a tad selfish, but I think it ties back in to the whole "I want to make a difference to people" thing. I don't know. I'm going to bed.