Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wishing to be happy

It takes loneliness to discover happiness. Emptiness to discover fulfillment. Sadness to find contentment. And confusion to find peace of mind.

The road to happiness is not easy. It is full of challenges and more often than not, we end up frustrated and in pain.

Someone once said that "people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they did not slow down to enjoy it." Happiness is relative to each of us. Some may find it in material things, of love lost and then found again and then lost again and then found again, of being cured from a terrible illness, of ambitions gained and winning a jackpot, of redeeming oneself from a wrong accusation, or simply achieving peace of mind after a battle with the evils from within.

When I was young, life was not easy for me and my family. My dad and mom seemingly had to make ends meet, for tuition fees for my sister and I. Celebrating an occasion - birthdays or christmases - would be frugal. During Christmas, my dad would drive us around the metropolis so we could see the various lantern displays and to COD in Cubao to see the mechanical display (in those days, this was considered the place to be) of toys a-dancing and a-singing. There was Holiday on Ice at the Araneta Coliseum, which served as our annual New Year holiday treat.

And I believed in wishing upon a star. Life was not easy for me growing up in an all boys school. The teasing and bullying hurt like hell, and there was no soft spot for me to cry on. I rarely made friends and because we probably were not both wealthy and I had gender problems, I was not popular in school. Focusing on my academics came easy, because it served as an outlet for all my misery. There was a loneliness that only I felt. Even coming home to parents who tried to make ends meet was a dreadful one.

I was surprised that in spite of the meager income, we had food on the table and a roof over our head. My dad made sure that we went to good schools. It was his way of giving us his share of happiness. As I grew older, I never waivered on the hope that some day, my more material and tangible wishes would come true.

Not all my wishes came in a silver platter. There were challenges that came along the painful journey of reality. There was love lost and love found. There was life lost and grief followed. There were questions more than answers. Yet in between the years and tears, I remained optimistic that someday I would look up to a clear night and close my eyes and wish all my might that all the pain would just go away.

I have come full circle in life, knowing now the lessons of wishing to be happy. There will be pain in our journey, but finding happiness and its true meaning is within us. Being happy is not about me. It's about other people. It's about accepting that things that are meant to be come together at the right time and at the right place. There is an alignment of all things that become our final journey - and wishes don't come instantly. It's the same way my parents saw it as they raised us. "Some people suffer but become amazing witnesses to all the graces in this world. Others go through the very same trial and become angry for the rest of their lives."

Remember: The sun that melts ice is the same that hardens clay.

The choice is left to us.

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