When in life did you realize you were happy? That happy was radiating from within you in spite of all the shit falling around you. In spite of bad days and grumpy people. In spite of judgments and to do lists running wild. In spite of your worst day happening – happy?
I have had periods of happy – moments, days even, months sometimes but I’m talking a different level of happy. Because even in those periods I still felt heavy, that there was a burden I was carrying beyond the daily disturbances around me.
For me, my moment of clarity came unexpectedly but I was conscious of it fully. Still remember it in detail at this moment, and yet it was over a year ago now.
I was 38.
It took me 38 years to fully find my bliss.
I’m not saying that my life has been all misery and sadness, quite the contrary in fact – I am loved fully by family and friends, have seen a large portion of the world, I have adventured and grown, seen and done so many things but I was on a constant search for my happiness.
For the happiness that lives within each of us.
The happiness that isn’t related to other people or places but solely within ourselves.
It’s in the happiness that comes from fully loving ourselves, everything about us, flaws and all. It’s about accepting the bad along with the good and knowing fully that everything that has come before us has made us who we are and who we are is perfect.
Our perfection lies within our unperfectness.
Yes, we are all perfectly unperfect and that is amazing and beautiful.
I can say that I am not necessarily pleased with all the choices I’ve made in my 38 years. There are many in hindsight I’d love to have back, to try again, to be better than I was but in those moments it was all that I had, all I knew, all I was capable of.
I do know however that those choices had shaped me. I have learned from them, I have grown because of them.
The almost eight years I spent living in Vancouver were a huge time of growth for me, periods of learning more about myself. I recall the general sense of becoming content, of finding a groove that was nice, comfortable – but not fully developed, in progress.
My happiness didn’t come from moving to Australia but rather for the growth that occurred in the process of it all – of reestablishing myself half a world away from anything I knew – from finding amazing people that showed me I was beautiful exactly as I was, because of who I was.
I learned – as often happens when you uproot your life – that people come and go – some that you’re close to remain, others drift off. Some relationships grow stronger through the distance, unexpectedly. Amazingly.
You find new families in the people you surround yourself with – some for a brief few months, others for life. Letting go doesn’t mean you’re not good enough, it doesn’t mean you failed but rather it was just another moment, an experience that taught you about life, about yourself.
My happiness came from letting go of the story in my head that people leaving defined something about me – a flaw or a failure. The story I’d held on to for so long – the one that caused me to never let people get too close, for pushing away the ones that did. For living with so much fear that I just wasn’t good enough. A fear that I reinforced over and over and over again by creating the situations to make people leave.
My happiness came from loving myself.
So when then was this moment I realized with true clarity that I was happy. That happiness radiated from within me?
It was, not surprisingly, at the crossfit gym.
It was during a warm-up and the coach was teasing me for whatever reason – I don’t recall what though it was probably for leaving my water bottle in the middle of the floor – something I often did that drove him mad.
The class wasn’t that large – maybe 10 or so people but it was oddly quiet while this was happening and I just laughed, I think I might have done something ridiculous in responding as well and again, I just laughed.
I wasn’t laughing at anything other than myself, my own silliness. I had zero cares about what anyone in the class might be thinking, it didn’t matter that I was making a fool of myself right then and there, I just didn’t care about my outward appearance to others at all. It was the first time I can recall this happening and it was freeing, a big weight that I no longer had to carry around. I was me – take it or leave it. Honest. Authentic.
It was days later that a good friend told me she had witnessed this entire exchange – hearing it only from the mezzanine above the gym. She told me that I sounded happy to her and though I didn’t need the encouragement or compliment it was kind and reinforced this amazing place in my life that took me many years to get to.
I was 38 and finally happy.