This post is part of the “Blogging from A-Z April Challenge”! The “U” themed inspiration for today is “utopia.” It’s a monster post…but it’s probably one of the most important ones I’ve written.
I do not remember the saddest day of my life.
That’s not to say I don’t remember exams, or deaths; broken bones, surgeries and scars. I certainly can’t forget about heartbreak, failure, disappointment, and all those unexpected lasts, and I know too well of the scariest stretches of days where nothing went wrong at all, but everything felt terribly off.
But when I think back on this small little history of my tiny life, the truth remains; I don’t remember my saddest day.
What I do remember, is my happiest day.
I must have been around 13, and my family was on summer holidays on a beach off the west coast of Canada. Our car had broken down and we were forced to stay longer than we had anticipated. One day before lunch we all went down to the beach. I’m not sure what we did, but the moment that materializes in my memory when I think of happiness is this:
I’m lying on a towel in my bathing suit on this huge, expansive, west coast beach. It’s warm, but not hot, and I have that relieved and sleepy feeling one gets after swimming. There’s a slight breeze and I can hear the soothing rush of the ocean; a background to my thoughts. I’m reading a book, but I’ve paused for a second to realize something: how content I am. There are no fireworks, there is no man of my dreams, I haven’t won the lottery, and yet, here on this beach quietly surrounded by my family, I am the happiest I have ever been. I just take a moment to notice it. ‘This is Utopia,’ I think.
Sometimes I wonder why we look back on the past with that warm nostalgia; why we call to mind the good quicker than the bad. And I think I’ve solved it. Sorrow is part of the deal we have with this strange thing called life. There are a lot of acceptable reasons to be sad.
Bad stuff happens to us, in sometimes overwhelming doses, but I don’t think in such states we are in a calm enough state of mind to really notice: “I am sad.”
But happiness? That’s ours whenever we want it. Contrary to sadness, unprecedented, overwhelming incidents of happiness are rare. Sadness is often an occasion. Happiness is a state of mind.
We are more present in our happiness than our sadness, because I think it is, more often than pain, something that we must will into being. It’s something we project, perhaps not often, but it’s something we tend to recognize because the feeling itself gives us the clarity to do so. Realizing your happiness, is the greatest level of fulfillment.
I feel as if sadness is a build up inside of us, like a clogged drain. Happiness, however, isn’t something else completely, it’s just a working drain. An unclogged drain.
So, yes, I remember the happiest day of my life, and I realize it was no Utopia. I realize Utopia can’t exist, because it can’t be some external, physical place or thing. Happiness comes from yourself, and that, whether I realized it as a 13 year old or not, is to what I was referring.
Still, there is something kind of perfect in realizing that the positive prevails, while the sad days come surely, but then fade away.
Just like debris floating away from the drain.
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(V, W, X, Y, and Z…the end is in sight! Though I have nothing planned…stay tuned for the wildly entertaining spectacle that is, “Kat flying by the seat of her pants”!)