Hello again from the Big Blue!
I have this thing I do when I need to stop thinking, or when I’m cranky, or hot, or when I just feel like it. I throw on my bikini, go down to the water, wade up to my waist, then fall back, close my eyes, and float. That’s it. I float. (It drives Prez nuts that I can float so easily – he is a sinker). What happens when I float is this: The water takes all of my weight without putting any stress on my body, it also cools me, and it covers my ears so I can’t hear anything. With my eyes closed, weightless, soundless, I drift off – literally and figuratively – to a state of total Zen.
This is my Z Spot.
Every time I go to this place, I’m amazed how something so simple can be so blissful. It’s temporary, but isn’t everything?
I’ve been thinking lately, (uh oh), about the nature of happiness. Specifically as it relates to our perception of How Life Should be Lived. I’m well aware that each time we pack up our old kit bags and smile, smile, smile…then move away to a new job, town, country, etc, there are folks out there crossing their fingers hoping that this time we’ll find “it”, that things will work out, and we’ll finally settle down. I understand these feelings come from love and friendship, and so I let the warm fuzzies wash over me, but at the same time, I want to explain that there really is no “it”.
Do you know someone who has the Dream? Someone who has a good job, makes good money, has a good spouse and/or family, and yet you know they aren’t happy? Or they seem happy but you suspect that it’s an act designed to fool you, them, and everyone else? But why? I mean, if you have the Dream, isn’t that supposed to be enough? Isn’t that the path to a happy life?
According to the rules of How Life Should be Lived, you get a good job, find a partner, buy a house, have kids, and work away until retirement. This has been the logic for so long, in our society, that we’ve stopped questioning it. But I want to question it. I want to re-examine the thinking that would have us believe there is some kind of mathematical formula for happiness.
OK, let me ask you another question, (I’m very inquisitive today): Have you ever been on a diet? (Many of you are now rolling on the floor laughing). Remember how it felt, after starving and depriving yourself, to take that first bite of the forbidden food. Mmmmmm. Chocolate cake! Yum. A big, fat juicy steak. Ecstasy! A greasy bag of potato chips. Slobber, slobber, drool! Sure, you’d eaten these foods before but now, tasted again, as if for the first time, dipped and buttered in the nectar of memory, these foods transform from mere treats to some sort of sinful, almost orgasmic, pleasure.
We’ve all heard the annoying platitudes about how happiness comes from the inside, money can’t buy happiness, happiness is a warm gun, etc. etc. But the crazy thing is happiness does come from the inside. I’m not suggesting we can manufacture it; I’ll leave that to Dr. Phil. Consider this, though – the same piece of chocolate cake that was just tasty pre-diet, without changing its molecular structure, becomes a piece of frosting-covered magic post diet. The cake didn’t change, we did. The ability of the cake to make us happy had more to do with our perception of it than the sugar content, or the blend of ingredients, or the rich, dark chocolate…
Hold on, I need a moment to compose myself. Too much discussion of chocolate.
I’m better now.
What I’m saying, in a convoluted way is this: There is no “it”. Still confused? I thought so.
There is no one true path to happiness. Our jobs and our postal codes don’t make us happy – only our perception of them does. If there is any great secret to happiness it is only that it can be found anywhere, anytime, and often when we least expect it.
Would Prez and I be happier, would our lives be better, if we could just find the right place and career and settle down? Maybe, but I doubt it. Each time we uproot ourselves and leave behind people and places we love, it hurts. And each time we return to visit those people and places, it’s absolute joy. (Right now I have a list in my head of all the foods I want to eat, all the people I want to see, and all the things I want to do when we return to Canada). We don’t take things for granted the way we probably would if we stayed put. Our relationships with friends and family remain fresh because we have time and distance to allow all of us to gather new stories, meet new people, and have new experiences to share.
Don’t get me wrong, our lifestyle is no guarantee of happiness, either. I know plenty of folks who would be clinically depressed if they had to walk in our shoes. For us, however, it works. Our personalities thrive on change – even the painful kind.
So I bitch about the heat, and the humidity, and the postal service, and the crappy food, and the mosquitoes, and the occasional crazy guests. I miss my friends, my family, my writing group, and cheeseburgers that don’t have beets on them. Some days are horrible and I watch the evening Air Rarotonga plane fly away, wishing I was on it.
Then I put on my bikini, walk down to the water, wade in up to my waist, close my eyes, fall back, and float.
And I smile.
QUESTION: Where’s your Z Spot?
Until next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!
One of those happy moments…