There are moments in life where you have the luxury of sitting back, breathing and realizing that you can't stop smiling and that when you take your next breath, the whole world will be lifted from your shoulders. You look and see incomprehensible beauty all around you and think that it would be impossible for yourself to feel even a pang of sadness ever again, because isn't life perfect?
This is pure joy. This is happiness.
I was thinking about the happiest moments of my life and they all had one thing in common: to anyone else, these moments would have been small and almost meaningless. But to me they brought immense joy.
I know it doesn't seem like a deep statement, but it led me to also realize something else. I think that a lot of us, me included, go on this crazy search for happiness and that's our major goal in life: to find happiness. And through this valiant search, we try to create happiness through achievements and titles. And yet, no matter what we do or accomplish, we still aren't happy.
Here's the thing: happiness doesn't need to be something that is achieved or earned. It is already in us. And oftentimes, that is the last place we look for it.
It is when we aren't looking for happiness that we can truly find it. When we get rid of distractions and expectations we are able to live in moments of peace and joy. And those moments become us. They are us.
Here are some moments where I felt incandescently happy (stealing a little something from Elizabeth Bennet):
A Night in Athens
I was on a study abroad trip in Greece a few years ago and it was the second night. The streets were lit by city lights and a full moon peeking out from behind purple clouds. The air drifted its way through the buildings leaving a warm whisper on your skin. And I was sitting with my new travel buddy I had met the day before at a restaurant after walking around The Plaka for an hour trying to find somewhere to eat. We finally decided to just go to the next restaurant we found and ended up in an empty outdoor patio with cheesy checkered tablecloths and smiling waiters. We were splitting our first bottle of Greek wine and the waiter had just brought out a giant bowl of homemade pasta. My friend and I looked at each other with huge grins on our faces and said at the same time, "I am so happy." It was one of the best nights of my life. I felt invincible.
Going up on a Chairlift
This story is going to gain me some serious nerd status. When I was a junior in high school, I decided to do an extra credit paper in my English class because I wanted to analyze literature for fun. Because what high school girl doesn't dream of that? I chose to study Longfellow's poem, "The Cross of Snow" inspired by death and a mountain called Mount of the Holy Cross. I loved this poem.
That summer, I went with my family on vacation to Colorado. On the first day there, we went on a chairlift ride to the top of the mountain. As we came up over the last hill to get to the top, a mountain appeared in front of me: it was the Mount of the Holy Cross. I had no idea of where this mountain was located in the world, and here is was in front of me. I cried. I felt as if all the signs in life were saying that I was exactly where I needed to be.
Hanging Out with My Dad
I know this is so cheesy, but it's true. My dad's a lot like me in the fact that we have the same exact sense of goony humor. To most people it's probably annoying and ridiculous, but I think that my dad is the funniest person in the world. My dad can make me laugh for hours straight and it's the greatest feeling.
What are some of the happiest moments of your life? I want to hear all of them!