Thursday, September 12, 2013

Finding Your Happy Place

When people used to talk about "finding their happy place" I would just look at them like they were complete lunatics that had bad coping mechanisms. People who were unable to deal with the stress of modern life, so they detach from it with drugs, alcohol, mind numbing television, shopping their way to happiness, or some other bad habit so they can numb the frustration they feel with life and "escape." Until recently, this was my thinking when people talked about "finding their happy place." Because for me, my happy place has always been the fact that I was still alive, and still able to view the world in a positive way when I could have easily been jaded early on in life.

Recently, I have decided that being able to feel all of the emotions that a human being is capable of feeling is my happy place, and I go there often. Knowing that there are people who are not capable of feeling the entire range of human emotion makes me even more sure that it is my happy place because they tend to be unhappy individuals that are missing out on an integral part of life. Raw emotion... not to be confused with scripted emotion that is done by unhappy people trying to hide that they are unhappy.

I am a very emotionally animated person and I do not hide my feelings well. I cry when I am frustrated and sob when I am hurt, I am giddy and exaggerated when I am excited, I am grateful to have wonderful friends and obliged to have crappy family that make me appreciate my friends even more. I am quiet when I am thinking about something serious, and I become withdrawn when I am overwhelmed. I get a pit in my stomach and a weight on my chest whenever I am afraid, nervous, or anxious. I become ridiculously sanguine when a man takes me to dinner and opens a car door for me, or grabs my face and kisses me as the endless possibilities race through my brain even when I know things won't work out. The ability to feel these emotions makes me happy.

The feeling of sunshine on my face in the early days of Spring or late days of Fall, when the air is still crisp. Riding some gnarly single track smoothly, with no struggle or fear... just flowing over everything with strong legs. Running on an empty trail in the early mornings when there is dew on the grass still and everyone else is asleep (this doesn't happen often for me, I'm not a morning person... but when it does it is one of the most amazing feelings ever). Being in the passenger seat, staring out the window, lost in thought on a long road trip, content with your company and the sound of the engine. Watching the moon rise above the mountains at 10,000 feet and the absolute feeling of joy and relief when you reach the toilet to pee just in time. The absolute indifference you feel toward the ex that broke your heart... and the realization that you will love someone again someday. The sound of crickets on summer nights and the smell of a storm rolling in during hurricane season. These feelings make me happy, they soothe my soul and silence the doubt I sometimes feel about humanity. 

A happy place is not a place at all, nor a tangible item... those things don't last. It is what centers you and makes you appreciate this life you have and the emotion that comes with it. It is so cliche to say that life is short, but truly it is... I suppose that is why it is a cliche? It is a treasured thing that is often denied to many. So embrace it, live it, love it, and appreciate what you have. Appreciate the fact that you can run, or dance, or talk, or feel because there are people who can't do these things and would give anything to be able to. This is what makes life memorable, not going to your cubicle or owning the newest Gucci bag.

Whether your happy place is doing yoga, spending time with friends, going to the mountains to get away, reading a book, running long miles, or just a quiet place away from all the noise, be sure to try to go there as often as possible and experience the full spectrum of human emotion that makes this your happy place. Crying, laughing, sadness, anger, pride, elation, contentment, loneliness, rejection, feelings of failure, ecstasy, bliss, joy... this is life and I wouldn't trade any of those feelings to feel "happy" all the time. The loneliness and rejection I have felt at times makes the sweet times sweeter and enhances the contentment that I feel on most days. This is life. This is my life, and I love it. I am absolutely, positively, ridiculously in love with my life.

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