Who is the most genuinely happy person that you know? Is it you? I know that I am not. I wish for inner happiness and fight for it every day. I look to real people and wonder if where they are in their life is what they wanted. I truly wonder if there is something wrong with me because I am never fully satisfied. I write my list of gratitude, I share with acts of service, give quality communication, and yet I do not always feel the fullness inside. I have so much to be happy about and I know that. I know the feeling of pure happiness. The freckles on my face often come out in the soft sunlight, my smile is involuntarily turning upward at the corners, and my breath becomes a sigh. I wonder if the Joy of my Life was given everything she deserved in life, or if she was purely happy with the life she had been given. Here is a small story about the Joy of my Life.
The Joy of my Life grew up in the slums of Utica, New York with plenty of brothers and sisters to sleep in one bed with. She did her chores and went to pick beans with her siblings because you just did what you had to do when your father would waste away the family’s little money at the pub down the road. Her two oldest sisters were twins. As the oldest children, the twins took on responsibilities to give back to their mother so that she could feed the children. I have to point out that there was no sense of sadness in this story. It is plain and simple. Quite the opposite of “poor me.” A family survives together and they each did their part. This is where Joy has the personality of someone that says what she thinks and is stubborn enough to say no. You do what is right and do the best that you can for the future of your family. AKA she doesn’t put up with anyone’s bs.
On the path to growing up, Joy took advantage of the education provided that was free. Soon she was able to type and that ability alone at that time was enough to give her a management position. She is very proud of her family because more than half of her siblings, including herself, received a college degree and started families of their own. She had three sons with her husband, who later on passed away once the boys were adults. Joy did not see any reason to date or seek attention. Her main focus were now her grandchildren. Helping with laundry and babysitting were now her tasks that she did with love. It didn’t take long for her walls, fireplace, and bedroom to be full of pictures, colorings, new paper clippings, awards, report cards, school papers. When I say covered… I mean each and every wall except the bathroom. Walking into the small house made your heart feel a sense of comfort and love. There was no need to change a thing to make it look brand new. She didn’t need anything. The life of the most happy minimalist because her joy wasn’t in objects. The most sacred possessions her grandchildren can keep are the handwritten letters sent back and forth from when they went away to college.
There was no thought to her family separating and moving away from each other because in her mind your family is your happiness. You have everything you need at home so there was no reason to go and search for it. . . .
So I am sitting here today, wondering if moving across the country away from my family is worth it. There are days I am crushed and broken hearted… and there are days that I know I have made the right choice to run at my dreams head on. I brought those hand written letters with me and cry when she doesn’t realize that she can actually speak to me through Facetime. The letters always start and end the same way…
The Joy of my Life,