“So where is your happy place?”
I got this question from a colleague from overseas, and oh boy, I didn’t even know how to answer it.
To begin with, do I even have a happy place?
If we’re talking places, I’d say I currently don’t have a “happy place”. During weekdays, I reside in this city I’m having a love-hate relationship with for over a year now. On Saturdays and Sundays, I go home to Bulacan, but since we’re currently transitioning to transfer to my father’s newly-acquired house, I’m far from feeling super homey over the weekends.
I recently had a spontaneous trip to the North (which I believe I already told you guys about). I would say it was a happy place where I realized the sand and the sea are my essentials to keep my soul calm and sane. It was a happy place where I met people who are passionately work as fishermen and farmers, and I also met people who is passionate in serving and helping them.
It was a happy place, but it was not my happy place.
It has been a dream of mine to study abroad when I was a kid. In 2014, I grabbed the opportunity to tour and study in China for a few weeks. It was a privilege for passing their Mandarin proficiency test. I got to stay in a university in Xi’an and I was able to be a tourist in Beijing without paying for anything apart from my plane tickets. I’d like to do that again but this time, I’d like to take my master’s degree in a different country before going back here to work for my fellow countrymen.
So I started working on my applications.
The thing is, while it’s great to finally be on your way to that desire, it sucks when you begin to question if you really wanted to leave. “Do I really want to leave?” Then you’ll start questioning your happiness, too. What’s it all about now? Does it include this plan?
What if maybe, just maybe, happy places are not just common places you go to, but they’re actually people? Sometimes, we tend to forget how people that are dear to us are also considered home.
Maybe my happy place is that one where I am surrounded with people who truly love me and accept me, flaws and all. It’s those people who never fail to make me feel adequate when I feel like I’m not. Those people whose crazy match my kind of crazy. Those people who knows exactly what kind of coffee I would get and does not shame me for it, because I prefer latte than americano. Those people who would understand if I wanted to be alone for a while. Those people who can take my loud laughs, make me laugh even more and make workdays somehow bearable. Those people who keep on pointing me to God and nowhere else.
‘Cause no matter how great, sparkling and shiny the dream from afar is, I’d always choose to come home to my happy place any day.
It’s like you’re always longing for that crystal 3,938 miles away from where you stand when you actually got a gold right in front of you, tangible, a better fit and not out of reach. Or it’s like Ted constantly chasing Robin without knowing that he had already crossed paths with Tracy, the mother of his future kids. (Have I been watching too much HIMYM?)
But I digress. So what are my takeaways?
Lesson 1: Sometimes you’re actually right in the middle of your happy place, you just don’t see it until you decide to leave.
Funny how I only realized that when I was walking under the rain on one Friday noon, in heels, and on my way to an interview that could possibly score me a scholarship spot out of the country.
I didn’t back out, though. I might not be 100% sure yet of what’s next and I know my current place isn’t where I plan to head on to, but that doesn’t mean I can’t go because:
Lesson 2: Your happy place shouldn’t hold you back from reaching your desired summit.
These people are the ones who constantly encouraged me to try and do my best. I may not be sure on whether to go or not, I know that I can always come back to my happy place whatever happens.
In that case, my answer to my colleague was, “I think my happy place is right here, right now.”
I guess the bottom line here is just a happy place isn’t just a particular place. It could be in the arms of someone who gets you, right here and right now. Naturally. — and that’s lesson 3.