We all define happiness differently.
Some of us see it as something fleeting and brief. Others see it as a lifelong goal. Some may even believe it’s something to achieve and spend their whole life “searching” for it.
My thoughts on my own personal happiness have wavered like an emotional pendulum, but I’ve been realizing lately that it’s not really about defining it. It’s about accepting the present for what it is and embracing it, for better or for worse.
I can easily pull out key moments of pure happiness in the past 25 years of my life without hesitation. Quite simply, my life has been so beautiful.
The time a group of girl friends and I sang to Britney Spears at the top of our lungs with the windows rolled down in one of our last quarters at UCSB.
Or the 3-day massive, $1.1 billion dollar grand re-opening of Disney California Adventure Park’s Cars Land and Buena Vista Street that I was fortunate enough to media host an insanely awesome radio group for.
Or all the times I watched World of Color from behind as I stood greeter outside California Screamin’ and thought to myself, “I get paid to do this?”
And all my times at Disney when I rode golfcarts, got free gourmet meals, rode attractions, ran around with Nerf guns in the office – and thought, “Seriously, I get paid to do this?”
Realizing that I attended the only university in the world that sits on a beach. Simply put, the most beautiful university in the world (with the most beautiful people, inside and out).
Meeting all of these inspirational people in college and putting them on my grad cap.
Or the fateful second when I was (unbelievably) announced as one of the Managing Editors of our high school newspaper. That led to one of the best (and sleepless) years of my life on this team of four.
The first time I bungee jumped.
The best Vegas trip of all time with my favorite people:
The defining moment that I met Elijah Wood and he replied, “F*** yeah!” to my overexcited “I’m moving to Wellington!” remark.
All my foodie adventures with numerous loved ones.
Getting a tattoo with one of my best friends by my side.
The time I attended the best party of my life (2013 WETA Digital Christmas party).
The time I kissed a 300 lb. pig.
The time Twitter worked to my advantage and helped me meet Chris Gorham.
The time I rode passenger on someone’s motorbike in Wellington around the coastline.
The time I developed my first crush in college.
My first full day living in Wellington, New Zealand.
The moment I let go of my personal anxieties about being a teacher overseas.
Learning that a random girl I hung out with in Australia turned out to be a renowned travel blogger (Yulia is amazing and such an experienced traveler – check out her site!) <3
The time I got to meet my favorite travel blogger – in my favorite country (New Zealand, of course).
Meeting a lifelong best friend in Wellington through this very blog.
And most recently, reuniting with two of the most beloved people in my life – Denise and Loretta, my guardian angels and Disney mothers who I will forever adore. I can’t even begin to describe the immense levels of happiness that sprang through my heart as I saw them again, especially with the chaos and unexpected obstacles that this past year brought upon me. They helped me ring in year 25 with much gusto and love, and I’ll never forget our in-depth conversation that was so different from any other talk we’ve had in the past.
It’s taken a great deal of strength to reconnect and reach out to specific people that I want in my life – and after being out of touch with everyone for so long, it’s been such an eye-opening experience. Human connections and interactions really are the most important component of life. From reminiscing about college days to staying out until 3:30 A.M. in a diner booth talking about relationships and what it means to be happy, I’ve spent the past week feeling so uplifted and grateful to have made so many beautiful, valuable connections in my life. I pride myself in having the best friends who challenge and support me to continuously grow rather than stay stagnant. You all know who you are – thank you for being in my life, despite the times when I’ve pulled away or been out of touch.
Life is too short to hold a grudge. Life is also too short to live in a continuous state of hurt and unhappiness, as I did this past year. I wrote candidly several times about love, feeling betrayed by love, and now, moving on from love. When I wrote all this, I was broken and severely hurt. While I’m not sure if I’ll ever forget what it feels like to be hurt by someone you once loved, I now can honestly say that I don’t hold any hard feelings toward him. As long as he’s happy, I’m happy, even on separate paths for the remainder of our lives. There are so many other great things to look forward to in life that shouldn’t be bogged down by one thing (or person) that can be laughed about in the future.
Cheers, folks. Don’t take life too seriously – live like a Kiwi. 🙂
P.S. Jenn & Todd, this one’s for you: See you soon in Bali, where my heart is going to burst with extreme happiness at being reunited with you two! <3