Someone recently asked me if I was happy…
I thought about it and decided that “happy” is too boxy an adjective for me to work with. For perhaps I have deceived myself in unnatural optimism, but it seems I’ve been “happy” all my life. Despite my insecurities and naïvete I was “happy” throughout high school and college. Despite my 80-hour workweeks and outrageous internal imbalance, I was “happy” post-college. But there was something in me that knew I had potential for more than “happy” and that restlessness sent me on a search…
Now, three years and thirty countries later, what I found was not just one thing, but two; Joy and Peace. Even I’m grimacing. I sound like a x-mas greeting card…but bear with me please.
So these moments of pure joy, I began to find them in places like on the salsa dance floor, thirty meters under sea, at the summit of a volcano or under a pig pile of street kids. You know those moments of joy that make the world spin around the way it does the minute before a first kiss? Anyway, my taste for these twirls with life became insatiable. I hunted them down with unusual vigor, each capture bringing me more passion for the game and more energy for the pursuit.
And then something changed. And honesty, I don’t know exactly when or where it happened. But after the storm came a calm, and I found myself sitting alone on docks and ocean cliffs and under stars being enveloped in a kind of peace that made “happy” look mild.
My 700-mile Camino brought something entirely new out of me. I walked it entirely alone. Just me, my backpack, my tent and two full moons. And the funniest thing happened. My walk was pure peace. And despite the calm of it all, I found myself spinning in pure joy. It sounds so hippy, but literally, I don’t think a day went by where I did not see something so beautiful in its simplicity that I was moved to wet eyes of emotion.
I’m at “home” now. And “happy” is exactly the word to describe my current state. There’s a warmness and fondness I can only capture here, surrounded by my known and loved friends and family. A softness that I can sigh and soak in. Home is my bubble bath of life.
But there is always a current here that I swim against. And with life moving faster here than I am accustomed to, with babies growing up and weddings going down and televisions blasting out, I won’t deny I always feel a little dizzy in it all. Which is why “home,” and “happy” are a fine vacation, but at the end of my bath, I will always return across borders — to the peace on the dock under the silence of the stars, enveloped in the joy of the sea.