My View of Happiness
Happiness is like a snowflake, each one unique because the perception of a meaningful life varies from person to person. To many people, happiness means a simple life without any ups and downs, but my happiness comes from a life full of challenge and experience.
When I was a child, happiness was the rare taste of independence, a brave leap from the mundane. I remember the first time I tried to to ride a bike by myself without the support wheels. I went back home with a flat tire, skinned knees, and the biggest grin my face could hold. While other toddlers preferred the safe and secure, I was tumbling down hills and swerving off sidewalks. Even now, I can still recall the exhilaration I had felt when I managed to stay atop that bike for those few short moments.
Later on, overcoming challenges that I encountered in life was what brought me happiness. You see, I started learning the violin. It was extremely hard and I sounded like I was flaying a cat every time I picked it up. My fingers were awkward and the bow slipped off the strings more times than it stayed on. I spent three hours everyday, sawing at my violin. My fingers bruised and my neck ached, but gradually the mistakes lessened and I was making music. Three years later, I was First Chair violinist in the school orchestra. I still remember the pride I had felt when I took my very first bow in front of an applauding audience. Happiness had felt so much sweeter after a hard won success.
When I got older and saw more of the world, I wanted to contribute more. So when most people my age chose to spend the three months before college relaxing, I decided to get a part-time job as a TA at a summer school. I woke up at the crack of dawn, took an hour's bus to the school every day and spent most of the summer vacation sitting in the back of classrooms, grading papers and taking notes on the lecture and tutoring students. It definitely wasn't the most glamorous summer, but it was one of the happiest and most memorable moments of my life. It didn’t just make me happy because it had been my first part-time job. I was happy because I had spent my time doing something worthwhile. I had contributed in my own way, and the children were going to do better in school in the coming year.
Over the years, I’ve had my fair share of cuts and bruises, but the scars left behind are the testimony of my own unique experiences and the fulfilling life that I want to pursue. Our time is limited and I want to experience as much as life can offer. My happiness comes from living an exciting and worthy life, true to myself and true to the world.
If personal happiness were a self portrait, then each day would be a stroke of the brush, each experience a splash of vivid paint. And when we are old, we can look back upon our life and the dots will connect, every brush of color will come together and reveal a life worth living and a person worth being.