When you can let go of anything and everything because you know that happiness resides within you — you are a free person.
Beautiful sunsets slipping away, right before our eyes. Purple colors of dusk disappearing into night time. Lovers walking away, friends saying goodbye. We’ve seen them too many times. Loneliness and sadness have more than once crept inside our hearts. It’s a little hard to breathe when you’ve got nothing ( no money for decent food, no time for adventure, no warm body to touch). How can you feel happy and free in situations where you’re in a slump?
What does it mean to be happy and free?
Freedom has taken a different image today. Instagram escapes, smiles by the beach, eat-outs in expensive restaurants, and passport stamps. Freedom used to be about establishing one’s authentic identity and lifestyle.
Is that all there is to happiness? Can we look at it in another way?
In a consumerist lifestyle, we assert that we are “free” when we can go anywhere. When we are “free” to eat anything, and “free” to spend our time frolicking out there.
Do we really derive freedom and happiness in such activities?
Asking what happiness is
It isn’t bad to get a dose of the latest fad. We don’t mind at all that you have dozens of stories from your trip abroad.
But when you think that the true mark of happiness and success is bragging rights, you have to re-think again.
People who are stuck at home with no travel goals and six-digit bank accounts might even be happier than you are.
You are only as happy and free as you allow yourself to be. When you anchor your happiness on material things, disappointment is inevitable. None of these things last forever.
There was a time in my life when all that made me happy was my newfound sport, surfing. I obsessively checked weather forecasts, planned my trips, and shopped for swimwear. I shaped my plans for the future around this addictive sport (I will buy a beach lot and live in a hut and surf all my days away! And I will become a digital nomad, yay!)
Then guess what happened? A flat spell hit the local break I was surfing. I got into trouble with some of the local surfers. I realized that I couldn’t weekend warrior forever.
In the three months that I didn’t surf, I suffered existential crisis. I didn’t know why I was here anymore; I was a fish out of water. My happiness was taken away from me and I felt locked up inside my studio apartment.
How did those beautiful days slip away? Seasons come and go, I should have known.
I thought I was wild and free, happy and sanguine, because of the things that I did. I was wrong. Happiness and freedom shouldn’t be measured in miles I’ve travelled and the tanned lines across my body.
I learned how to be good to myself, how to be happy by choice, and how to live in the present moment. I revisited the great ocean and the most beautiful seascape: my own mind.
I stopped and took a breath.
I told myself that there was always something beautiful in each day. It could be as simple as a well-cooked meal, a smile from a colleague, a new song that I added to my Favorite playlist.
I stopped stressing about the distant future. I focused on how to live effectively. I told myself to “chill” while adding bits of work for accomplishing my goals into my daily life.
As a person who lives alone, loneliness sometimes hits like a brick across the face. Sometimes I crave attention and physical contact. Some days, it hurt when I had nothing to do, no places to visit.
But I found my freedom, knowing that I could still be happy in the absence of these.