On Happiness

Alex Lovaas, Page Editor

Sometimes it is best to not look for anything and stroll down the street with an open mind and open heart eager for any opportunity. That’s the problem with none, no one goes out with the anticipation of going on an unknown adventure. Everyone has a set plane with set dates, times, attire and guest list. But what does that all really matter if you live your entire life in a safe zone full of false friends, a fantasy house and worst of all, a planned schedules. Before this trip I wallowed in the world of schedules and was obliviously content with it. It wasn’t until now that I realize that is is almost a guilty pleasure to be home. I have everything and have hardly ever considered that there are people who don’t have anything. But they might just be happier than the people who live in luxury.

What do you normally wake up to? A schedule. The alarm is the first one, right of schedule, reminding you that you have to get to the rest of your schedule. Sometimes parents make breakfast, usually you usually stop to get coffee. It’s all, okay. No, it’s all a luxury. Or is it, because I was never happy. Every morning I wake up totally unaware of what this exact day holds. In front of me, as I write this, I’m sitting in a wooden box of  a house looking upon the Shan Hills with millions of individually hand planted grains of vibrant green rice tucked into every flat corner of the hills. The sun has just shows its face above the hill and is leaking its magnificent light upon the town warming it from the cool mountain nights. Nothing could be more beautiful, and I could never be as happy. There’s no other word to describe it: genuine happiness. How is this even possible when I am halfway around the world from everything I know, everything I love. But no, I love this. I love this moment right here. Here’s the secret though, I have never felt more loved than right now either, my homestay family has taught me more than I could have asked. There is honestly no way for me to repay them. I guess when you strip yourself of everything you own and everything you know, the only thing you’re left with is you. You and the world that is may seem so different from home, but it’s really not that far away, because this is the same planet after all. Love the world; love yourself.

Written for the September In-Depth spread, “(87) Days of Summer,” featuring students’ poetry and prose on experiences over summer vacation that changed their perspective.