One beautiful summer afternoon I was lying under a willow tree on a giant rock next to a primary school. The breeze through the willow’s branches created the most soothing of sounds. The soft gentle air caressed my cheeks. The sun was slightly peaking through the barks. This heavenly scenario brought me to consciousness. The consciousness that I was alive and well and possibly even content. I felt a joy in my heart which I had not felt for years. Years of illness and depression had worn me down to believe that despite having a supportive family, a great fiance (my now husband) and despite being free of any proverbial social chains and outside pressures I was unhappy. The chains were mostly my own and the pressure, self imposed. Additionally, having had lost a close friend to cancer not too long ago, and without closure… made me feel numb. Numb to my environment, my friends and family, numb to my self. My emotions buried deep in my chest choking me in my throat. Emotions of regret and loss and emptiness, like a gaping hole in my heart.
I was taking a break from school during my undergraduate studies. This was the second time my health and life had slapped me back into depression and tore me away from what I loved the most, pursuing my academic dreams. Along with dealing with loss (which is an entirely new post), the type A in me did not take it well that I was now being led off my path again. Would I be able to go back to pursue what I perceived to be happiness? To pursue my dreams of becoming an independent woman? Was that my definition of happiness? Seeing my self graduate and pursue post a graduate degree, to become a lawyer?
That simple, sunny day my hair was filled with the breeze of the warm afternoon, my face lit with the peaking light through the willow and the soft hum of the tree along with the song of the birds filled my ears and my heart with euphoria. And I wondered… was I happy all along and just missed it because I was too busy imposing pressures on my self?Too busy living and regretting my past? Was enjoying the present moment true happiness? So what if my life was not going according to my plan? Was there a better plan for me that I failed to see? Pondering further, do we actively pursue happiness? Or is happiness present and we just don’t see it due to the robotic lives we live? does it get lost in the traffic of our own minds? Can I stop feeling so miserable and let my self be held by the universe? To let it guide me and stop fighting everything around me to pursue my own plan? To let happiness flow as the willow does the light and let my self and mind be free as the breeze and the birds?
Which gets me thinking? Can we choose to be happy despite what we go through? I found happiness on that rock that day then why can’t I find it in my environment? Why can’t people choose happiness over misery? How does one ignore misery? After all it is also an emotion within us? Is happiness pursuing your life and your goals or making someone else feel happy? Happiness I suppose is a diversity of feelings intertwined with emotions and is personal to each person. For me then, as repetitive as it may sound, I have learned that happiness is to stop living in your past… to start living your present and to not worry about your future… Is it really that simple though…?