This is my beautiful cousin. 4 months apart. Inseparable. Best friends. We have been through hell and back together and somehow we always end up right where we need to be, and always together. We were married 5 months apart, maid of honors in each other’s wedding, etc. The list of my darling cousin could go on forever.
A couple of weeks ago I asked her to think of what makes her happy, why she chooses to be happy even when it seems like she shouldn’t be. Little did I know this would be a challenging task for her, but I am proud of her and her self discovery process. Here’s Erin:
Here’s Erin’s daily dose of happy.
Sometimes You Have to Go Around:
Sometimes You Have to Go Around:
Where I live, there is a park right across the street. It’s a relatively big park considering I live in the middle of Orange County. I’ve been so caught up with work and money and other stresses in my life. I missed the calmness and consistency of nature. I decided to take a walk. At this park, they have what they call “Nature Areas”. Most of this park has paved parking areas and built in play structures and baseball fields. But these “Nature Areas” are completely left alone. There are signs surrounding the area which warn of wild plant life and dangerous animals that may be lurking in the bushes and trees. The signs make it clear that you are entering at your own risk and they do not guarantee your safety. So naturally, I’m so excited to explore and just get away from this world that makes me so sad sometimes.
So, I begin a trail, hitting many dead ends, not really getting too far in. There is a small creek that runs through the entire park. Right away I found a place I could cross but it didn’t take me anywhere so I crossed back and tried another route. I couldn’t find any way through the area where I was so I had to go back to the paved walkway and find another way through. Every time I thought I found an opening I got stopped by the creek. It just wouldn’t let me pass. I could see the paths on the other side that seemed to lead further into the area. I just couldn’t get pass this creek! At times it seemed so close. I could almost jump it. But I knew these stubby 5’2″ legs weren’t going to make it. This isn’t what I wanted, I thought. I walk on sidewalk enough. I want to walk on uneven ground and smell the trees and get caught in some spider webs (not really, but that did happen…)
I looked to my left and saw that they had paved a road over the creek so the sidewalk could cross over it with a tunnel underneath for the water to pass through. I thought, ‘well, it’s not my ideal way around but at least I can now keep going through on the other side of the creek’. I walked around and as I did so, a couple walked right through the path I was going to take. Now, for most people, this would be fine. Who cares about other people. But I wanted to be alone. (I had planned on crying at some point in this adventure). That is why I went on this nature walk in the first place. So, begrudgingly, I kept walking up the paved path. Just beside the area I wanted to be inside of. So close. JUST LET ME IN!
I walked around and I finally found my way in. A little trail called “Olinda”. I walked through happily, taking different side trails and appreciating all the nature I could. And then I stopped and laughed to myself. Because right in front of me was the creek. And not just any part of the creek, but I was standing on the opposite bank where I had thought, ‘if I could just jump this darn creek, I could be on that trail’. I had made it! But no the way I originally hoped or planned. And you know what? That’s my life.
I’ve hit so many road blockers and dead ends in my short 24 years of life. Things hardly ever seem to go as planned. I always feel like I am so close to where I want to be. I’ve done everything I can to get to this point but this darn creek keeps getting in my way! But as I frustratingly take the long way around, I see all the beautiful moments I would have otherwise missed. A curious lizard checking me out. Butterflies chasing each other in a spiral high into the sky (which I thought only happened in movies). Flowers that looked like miniature puffballs. I appreciated this side of the creek so much more.
Sometimes life takes us on paths that we don’t understand. We see other people work so much less than us, getting exactly what they want like my couple friends who stole my desired path. But because I’ve taken so many unplanned long ways around, I see so much beauty in the world. Some people experience life similar to me and they become hard, angry, closed off to the beauty around them. You’ll get there. And if you don’t get there, you’ll get someplace better. There are so many parts of this world that we don’t see and we can never experience until we stumble upon them. I thought I was coming out here to write about how sad I was and how frustrated with life I am. And though I still have those feelings and I still have the same stresses waiting for me when I get home, I know I’ll make it somewhere great eventually. That is hope. That is my happy. My joy. I many not always be wanting to smile, but thanks to this path, my hope will never fade and I can always find joy.