Updated: Jul 9, 2020
There are different views on happiness. Some people feel it’s a way of existing through consciously choosing happiness, and others recognize happiness as fleeting moments of joy.
Yet, all in all — the idea holds a subjective opinion to those who experience it.
When I experience happiness, it is fleeting; like any emotion that I feel on a day to day basis.
Happiness only lasts as long as the moment in which I encapsulate it in.
If I’m not experiencing constant joy, then I’m in a state of complacency until I’m in the next moment that has the potential to provoke an emotional reaction.
In terms of happy moments I can look back at in my life, this was one of my happiest:
I was in this beautiful town in British Columbia, Canada — Chilliwack.
It was my first experience seeing mountains with my own eyes. When I arrived to visit Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park, I stood there in awe in complete disbelief that mother nature could produce such beauty.
It was a cold winter day on December 26th. Snow had fell the night before causing the trees to glisten with the snow on the branches. The snowfall also made the long mile walk to lake a treacherous venture, but it was worth it. That moment of hiking down to the lake didn’t give me happiness, but the struggles in the snow and cold didn’t matter once I arrived. The struggle led me to the beauty I witnessed before me.
With the feeling of awe that surrounded me, I felt this unspeakable joy that surged through my veins, and it was beautiful. The happiness literally brought me to my knees as tears filled my eyes. I can’t even explain what caused such a strong emotional reaction — all I know is that I felt whole and complete in that moment.
I looked at how still the lake water was. I was enamored with the way the sun glistened on the water, the reflections of the trees in the lake, the clouds passing through, witnessing Mother Nature’s beauty in it’s purest form. It was just like the pictures I had seen before but that moment in real life was nothing like the pictures. It was a THOUSAND times better! I just wanted to stand there for hours and take it all in. I wiped the tears that fell naturally from my eyes, and just felt at peace standing there, just staring out into the lake. The scenery moved me to this intense emotional feeling.
Happiness isn’t always this intense, but it was a moment that made me happy, a moment that struck me with awe.
Once I was able to stand, I just stayed in that moment looking out at the mountains, and the cold air didn’t even phase me.
I was just a city girl who never thought she’d leave Chicago to go on adventures and witness this beauty. I was 27 and never left the country before, but here I was in Canada in an adventure with my cousin living my dream — to photograph and hike the trails in the mountains of British Columbia.
In that moment I described, I couldn’t pinpoint in that moment where the happiness came from. It’s been almost three years since that experience but now that I get to think of it, I can see the importance of remembering the happy moments in life and how to appreciate every moment given to me.
I’ve heard that happiness is something you create, but I didn’t create the mountains, or the lake…
I created that moment.
Not only did I create that experience, I was consciously in that moment feeling extremely blessed to have come so far to witness this beauty with my own eyes.
I put my phone away; I just wanted that moment without any external distractions. I didn’t want to witness it from behind another lens. I was the camera. My eyes were the shutter. My mind was the film. With every breath I felt alive, and while I did take pictures later on, I made sure the first “pictures” I took were with my brain.
All I know is I felt happy. I felt grateful. I felt blessed. I felt fortunate to be living on this planet. It was powerful.
Once I left the park, the emotions did fade away. I was sad that I couldn’t stay there longer, but the feeling of happiness gave me something to be grateful for. While leaving was sad, I realized that I could carry those feelings whenever I reflected upon that moment.
Happiness reminds me that these feelings are always fleeting, but they always come back to you. While I was sad to have left, I took pictures to look back to remind myself of that feeling. For me, happiness is deeply rooted into consciousness and awareness in the moments I experience in life.
Emotions never stay stuck in one place, unless you want them to be. Emotions are constantly moving, just like happiness is.
I learned that when I focused on the small things in my life that I was grateful for, I was able to create more happiness around me.
Ultimately, it’s up to you on how you define your happy-place, but you don’t have to search for happiness or be on a quest for it — you just have to appreciate those moments as they come, and that’s how you can appreciate the moments that fly away from you.
-Cecilia J. Sanders