May 08, 2017
Thanks to the success and generosity of my amazing oldest daughter, we just returned from a trip to Istanbul, Turkey and Amsterdam, Netherlands. We both had a need to get away from our 'regular life,' and we felt like the further we traveled away, the better off we'd be. She's a frequent world traveler, so it wasn't quite the big deal for her that it was for me, but it was still a new adventure in a new faraway place. Sometimes we all want to escape from our regular lives and be someone different, and take in all there is to see and feel in a new place. Whether it be escaping a stressful job, daily home responsibilities, or a broken heart, we tend to think that going somewhere new will remove all the negatives that we are dealing with back home and we look forward, with anticipation, to the reprieve.
Taking in new adventures is a great distraction - for a bit of time all of the reminders of negative things disappear and are replaced with new sights, experiences and people. But even on a vacation in a faraway country, in a completely different type of world, with foreign language being spoken all around you, at some point your surroundings become comfortable, and you settle in. And then, you're you again. And even bits and pieces of the things you were trying to escape start to seep back in to your mind. Memories, particularly, tend to find their way in, no matter how far away you go. And there you find yourself, sitting outside having a fantastic dinner with really good wine, at an outside cafe on a cobblestone street in a foreign country... facing the same 'you' that you were back home. The same memories, the same reminders, and the same self that you thought you were going to leave behind for a little while are right there inside you.
So who are you? If you are you, no matter where you go, what is it about that person and that life that makes you feel happy, fulfilled, content, at peace, or successful? If you aren't happy with you, then no matter what new person you are with, or what new location you run to, you still aren't going to be happy. Conversely, if you are happy with you... no matter what circumstances surround you, you will still be happy. So it seems pretty straightforward - get happy, just you, in your own skin, with your mind, heart and soul, and that happiness will stay with you no matter what is happening outside and around you.
People and situations will come and go in our lives - that is the nature of the world and of every life. If we hang our happiness on someone or something outside ourselves, when that goes away then so does our happiness. But if we become content with ourselves, the people and environment outside and around us can change continuously, and we are still us, still content in our being who we are. This, then, this place of self-contentment, is a goal worth striving toward. Decide for yourself what your values are, what aspects of life make you feel happy and content, within you, and focus on those. Develop them, grow toward strengthening them, and rely on them. For no matter where you go... the one thing that will still always be with you.... is you.