October 30, 2021
Reflections, Day 22
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
― Thomas A. Edison
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
― John Lennon
A search for happiness.
Today’s photo is one that I took in Sugar Valley, Georgia a few years ago.
I used to drive through there a lot to visit a plant grower in Rock Spring. I liked the picture of a canola field in full bloom—mainly because yellow is such a happy color and, if I stood on the hill in the graveyard, I could see the entire expanse of these flowers. “This,” I said to myself, “is happiness.” I was referring to the field of yellow that wouldn’t last more than another week or two. I didn’t think about the symbolism of the headstones that I had to look through in order to take the picture.
I have seen a lot of happy things during my life, but “finding happiness” eluded me for many years.
When I was in my late teens and early 20s my father talked to me of happiness. He convinced me that the only way I would be happy was to make a million dollars—so I set out to do that. I realized later that he had been wrong. He presented a good case for it, but he never made that million dollars (he never quit trying) and he was never able to tell me how to make that million dollars. When I finally figured this out, instead of being farther away from happiness, I was actually closer to it. I figured that out much later, though.
Growing up in a military town, I noticed that when people drank alcohol they became happy. I remember parties that my parents took me to in which the adults were drinking a lot and they were all joking and happy. I didn’t ever think about how they felt when the effects of the alcohol went away.
So I spent some time trying to find happiness in the bottom of a bottle. That didn’t work out very well.
Then, one day, I stopped looking for happiness. I just accepted that my life was a failure and that I would never find happiness.
And, that’s when I found it.
I found it inside me where it had been hiding all along.
And I had finally reached my goal. I never found happiness.
Happiness found me.