It was probably the hottest night this summer. My friend and I sat out on his balcony listening to old Peruvian music while talking about life. At one point throughout our conversation, I sat up in my chair and asked him bluntly, “What’s YOUR goal in life?” He responded genuinely: “My ambition is to be happy.”
I went home later that evening still thinking about that statement. That is my goal too, I thought…. but it seems so broad and unattainable at times. You grow up learning that academic ambition is key in trying to obtain professional success. Having high ambitions means working crazy late hours in a corporate setting, devoting every ounce of yourself to projects and tasks that will reflect your abilities and talents. Ambition is the only route to a promotion, to a comfortable life, a huge house, a foreign car, expensive clothes and designer shoes. Ambition equals happiness! The question still remains: What is happiness?!?!
I wrote my friend’s quote on a piece of paper and pasted it onto my fridge. The word “ambition” started to fade and each time I’d glance at the note all I could see was “be happy.” I walked outside with my journal and began writing whatever thoughts started to pour from my head. I felt like I wanted to find an explanation for what happiness means. Sometimes it’s easier to grasp a thought when we have a clear definition of the word; but just like “love,” so is “happiness.” It’s a real emotion that can be expressed in so many ways, to so many degrees. It is ephemeral yet tangible. Perhaps we can’t touch it with our fingers, we cannot measure it by the size of a bank account, we cannot buy it in bulk (goodness knows, all the stores would be sold out), but we can grasp it with our hearts.
As I was writing, a few drops of rain fell on the page, smudging the words until they became illegible. The sky let out a loud reverberating thunder and it started pouring. I closed my eyes and smiled. The words were no longer important, that moment defined joy on so many levels. I felt one with the elements, one with life. I took a sip of my favorite wine, Menage a Trois, and thought, “THIS is happiness, just the three of us: myself, God and the rain.”