Contentment: Again with the Happy Place?

06_09_09_2.JPGThis picture is a narrow, winding street in the village of Stamford, England. It's a gorgeous town of stone buildings, quaint shops, quiet pubs, and lovely sheep fields. I've more than a few memories of the place. I'm not thinking about the little town though as I look at this photo. I'm entranced by the path the road is portraying, and I'm considering what is around the corner.

The thoughts of my happy place have continued to cross my mind. Not so much getting there, as I know what it looks like in my mind, I know the geographic location, and I'm extremely capable of booking the trip. I've been thinking of what made it so happy for me in the first place. It's a beautiful place, Caribbean waters, white sands, sunny days. However, I've been other places that were just as gorgeous and I've not labeled them in such an important way. Happy Place, now that is a title loaded with meaning. Poor Belize. How can it possibly live up to that expectation? :) I didn't know it would be that place when I went there, it just happened. 

How and why it happened has been the real issue. The trip and the place were happy because I was so very happy when I was there. The place wasn't happy. I was. I still believed in happily ever after and I had every hope that my life would turn out just as I had planned. Me, my wonderful husband, our as yet unborn children, a life of joy and contentment. I was blissfully unaware of life's true challenges and what lay ahead for us. It has been ten years since we took that trip. It's hard to believe how much I've changed in the span of ten years. Gone is the girl who so optimistically believed everything would work out for the best. Gone is that naive woman who thought death happened to the elderly.

What remains in her place is the question of the day. The old me isn't really gone, but I have been tempered. I have been blended, the bitter with the sweet. What I don't know is if I will ever feel the same degree of happiness I felt before the wisdom of grief was unwillingly bestowed upon me. I wonder if I may feel happiness more intensely, knowing how brief it can be. I also wonder if I will always be waiting for the worst to happen and never again be truly capable of living in the moment.

The answer to that question and many others is likely what is waiting around the corner in the picture above. I guess I'll find out when I get there. I think I've been sort of beating around the bush to get to my point, which is this: my happy place has to be something I carry with me. I've not been able to go back to my happy place because the truth is this: if I'm not happy my happy place will be just another place. I'll ruin it. For now, I need to preserve it, and work on the happy place I carry with me. Parts of me are content, and others are battered and bruised. Time heals all wounds they say. I'm still waiting. 

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