When I was a child, I thought happiness was like a rushing river – once I jumped in, it would carry me forever. It would rush around me, swallowing me piece by piece until only my face remained above the water, and I would be Happy. I thought it was a constant, a plane of existence that I never dreamed I could grasp. I could dip my hand in the water, sure, but somehow I never jumped.
I remember nights with my friends, all packed together in the basement, as we told stories and drank grape propel, and I thought, this is it. This is happiness! But morning always broke and with it some new symptom, some new heartache, and I felt happiness drip from the palm of my hand. I couldn’t hold it, not for any longer than a moment, and I felt broken.
But still, I grew. I changed my surroundings, both my landscape and my social scene. I cleaned all the poison out and waited, wounds open and weeping. I surrendered to good moments, good people who I knew could flit out of my life just as easily as they wandered in. I found joy in the mundane, in the smallest interactions between myself and the world, in wondering and laughing and trying to do good.
Slowly the moments built up. I stopped watching the river – stopped pursuing happiness as a permanent state of being. And I was amazed. The moments of happiness tasted sweeter and lasted longer.. some days I forget I was ever chasing happiness at all. I’ve fallen into it, head first, and I’m not afraid of its ending any longer. Somehow I know that I can find my way back, no matter how far I’ve strayed.