This is a French eatery which is approximately 2 blocks from my house. I run past it every day on my daily jog, and for some reason a smile always spreads across my face as I pass by the store front. Perhaps it is the canary yellow facade or the fire engine red door, but something about this place speaks to me. I had the opportunity of eating there about a month ago with a dear friend of mine after running my marathon. Let me just say it's name lives up to its expectations. An eclectic place at best, the dim red lighting accentuates the need to eat a Nutella infested crepe without guilt. Literally, after several glasses of champagne and one crepe later we were definitely were in our "le happy" place. Yet it hit me unexpectedly, perhaps it was just the sheer moment of joy, but I realized in that short moment that my "le happy" place had been on a long sabbatical and I wondered why i needed a crepe to find it.
We all are searching for it. We all want it. This nebulous emotion we are left with wondering how to obtain and maintain- the le happy. The problem is that I have searched for happiness in the most superficial of places. I think we all at one time or another have thought happiness resided in a pant size, in possessions, beauty, in the love of a certain someone, but yet what you find is that these things are not enough you are constantly searching for more. While I would be lying if I said I don't find joy in retail therapy, I do believe that the joy I speak of transcends the fleeting happiness of the perfect sweater. Over the past months I have struggled and dealt with my own personal battles of what constitutes happiness.
I will say the death of my father has had a long and lasting impact on the way that I view life and ultimately death. I have learned that my family and friends are a large source of my happiness. It is the relationships that bind us, give us purpose, and help us to feel connected. I will say that the loss of my father has left me feeling a bit like I am drowning in a sea with no life jacket. I didn't realize how much I relied and needed him as a source of strength and happiness until he was gone. Yet, I cherish the memories and the happy times we shared and know that he would want me to be as happy as I possibly could be. And thus here I am.
Despite friends and family, le happy is intricately intertwined with love, the most basic of human needs. You all know what I am saying. We all have experienced the way your stomach feels when that special someone grazes your hands. It is this feeling again of being connected, respected, and needed. I would go so far to say that the vulnerability that love requires of us may actually be an essential key to le happy. Non restrained, uninhibited, you are your truest form of self. I think for a long time I struggled with the fact that actually I do deserve the love of someone, and someone stinkin' wonderful at best. I am here to tell you, you deserve it too.
Another factor that has really helped me is forgiveness. I would be the first to tell you how difficult this task is. I have always been a little soft in nature, thus my feelings are easily trampled. The truth is more often than not people have no idea they have caused your soul to be smattered to a million little pieces. Yet, I find holding grudges to be ever so tiring. I have found so much more peace in forgiveness and think you will too.
When you ask people what they want out of life most will answer happiness. Yet, in my experience some of the most destitute and impoverished people I have come across, have been the happiest. They value the things in life that have no price tags, they value each other and the things they do have. I have done some deep evaluation of my life and have found that most of my searching and pursuit of happiness has been in folly, because my true happiness resides around me in the people, the relationships, and love that surrounds me. I just was too consumed with everything else to recognize it. Reclaim your le happy this week, it's often found in the places you least expect.