PEOPLE DEFINE HAPPINESS
When a guy broke my heart somewhere in last quarter of 2013 my friends and I decided for a long ride going to South of Cebu to enjoy the white sand and the tempting crystal clear water. Long hour that occupied of silly talks and in between they let me cry, and handed me a drink. There I was, a heart broken but a smile and a good laugh with friends painted in my face, and it is something like hope rising in my heart.
Happiness is people— the friends who will weather any crisis with you, the camaraderie we share, and the moments that remind you that no matter what, you are never alone. Now that I am in my mid 20s, I see how incredibly important it is to have a strong support system of positive people you trust and who you know will be with you through the good and the ugly. The true secret is no secret; if you have good people, happiness will never escape you.
HAPPINESS IS THE ATTEMPT
That time I was striking and eager to stand by my own feet and manage my own financial concern. When I was in between jobs and figuring out what the heck I am going to do with my life, I started writing. I wrote the thing about my sentiments in life, the learning I gain in my journey until today, the things I wish I had figured out sooner, the process of transitioning adulthood—I am overwhelmed with the comments of strangers about my writings and somehow made a connection with them by replying their comments. I never had the courage before to let my words speak something in public. I didn’t believe in myself enough until I got to a point where I had nothing left to prove. What I found in that one little leap of faith is that trying new things adds to the joy of living. No endeavor offers surefire certainty, but the chance to do something that carries the weight of potential success is truly amazing. Happiness is the attempt—not the destination but all the steps it takes to get there. To try makes heroes out of us all. And there is no finer happiness than feeling like you’re even just little bit superhuman. And what I have learned from that is the happiness is showing the world what you’re made of. Perhaps, even more so, happiness is living a life you’re unbelievably proud of.
I just turned 24 this year. Sometimes I’m tempted to moan about this journey into adulthood. But then I see where the journey has taken me. As you get older, you find that it doesn’t take much to sow and reap joy.
I started my year out of the country and I consider it as a long break that is required for myself to see a better version of me the next steps I will make. It’s my choice to grow up emotionally and lay the healing process to time.
Just one afternoon, I spent time with a new found friend in one shopping center to buy some baby’s stuffs, and talked about everything under the sun. There was no huge event, no surprises, no lavish plans, but there was good food, hot drinks and great company. I wished I had learned this earlier on in life that happiness is about appreciating the small things. The sooner you find the courage it takes to be grateful for even the smallest thing, there’s nowhere you can go that will even leave your spirit too dejected for long. I’ve found it helpful making a list of the things I am grateful for, be it the weather outside the window, my favorite song in my playlist, or even a smile of a stranger. In finding these small treasures in the everyday nuances of life, I’ve found a silver lining, things to always be inspired by or hopeful about. And that just about kicks my sadness in the butt.
I believe that sadness is a stems from a discontent. Dissatisfaction from life and the way things are going. But there is an infinite number of ways to change that. You are the hero of your own life and you can make the choice to be happy and to launch into the adventures that will catapult you into something beautiful. When we become part of better stories, we choose to involve ourselves in things that go beyond ourselves. We create connections, join chapters with other people. Happiness is giving back. By far, the best happiness we can get from life is the chance to make another person happy.
I’m not saying to be sad is wrong—sadness is a natural condition. I believe what is wrong is falling in love with your sadness. It’s too easy, it’s not healthy, and there is a far better life waiting for you beyond that heavy heart. Sadness costs. Happiness, on the other hand, is free and weighs as light as cotton.
Once in my life a tragic situation came in, it happened during my teenager era. That certain moment of my life taught me to embrace sadness and love it after my parent’s separated. That incident wounded me deeply and even leave a fresh scar that every now and then make me sad when I look back those days. I like sadness, even it comes to the point that I love being alone in everything and romanticizing the idea that it’s the only option left for me. Sadness validated my baggage; help me less care with people around me, my issues and drama. It made me feel safe and so I fell in love with it drunkenly bitter.
But since change is the only constant in this world, it strikes me. Things drastically change in college. I met bunch of people who show me what’s carefree life without sadness that wrap me, friends I gain that they’d do everything to yank the sadness out of my palms. These people showed me an alternative I had been missing out on for so long. We go out, celebrated small victories with circle of friends, and even few of them planted their own personal sunshine in my heart that make me often define as predictably happy. I realized that sadness is far too easy that I am much stronger.
Happiness was strange. It felt fragile and finite, like it could float from my grasp any time. Looking at life hindsight, happiness scared me. The fact that it could disappear so quickly made me miss the comfortable pain of sadness. At the same time happiness was so wonderful. It made my heart ridiculous and silly, and it took a little time for me to realize that this was the emotion I been seeking out in my whole existence.
When I graduated from college, diplomas in hand, degree as a pride, I secretly pondered if my happiness would travel miles away from me the way my friends inevitably would. But to my great surprise, it didn’t. Happiness remained until today.
What I didn’t learned that graduation day, as Mr. Sun bow his head to us newly graduates and the tears that flew down our faces signal the end of an era, was that the friends I found in college days had never given me happiness. They introduced it to me. They taught me how to find it when it seemed to be more elusive, and they showed me how to live it each day of my journey.
And the lessons always come in memories.