Archive for June, 2012
A breeze is in my hair
And moonlight on my face
I’ve never found myself to be
In such a perfect place
I hear the gentle song
Of crickets in the grass
Another gorgeous Summer night
Will come and go too fast
With fireflies in the field
And bullfrogs in the lake
I wish that life would be this calm
Tomorrow when I wake
Still time will move along
As we fly ’round the Sun
And when we’re old and grey we’ll see
That time has just begun
I was told by a friend how much I reminded her of her late uncle, the most selfless person she knew. The next morning, someone told me they thing they notice most about me is that I always think of others first. It made me think (for once about myself) and I realized how often people ask me how I’m always so happy, and that the answer lies greatly in my prioritization of others.
So – what is happiness, anyway? I’ve said before that the little things are what matter most. I’ve also told you about BFF Night, one night a week where my best friends gather at my house, I make dinner, and we eat and play games. I had a moment a few nights ago at dinner that reminded me of my idea of true happiness. Matthew and I went to our favorite Chinese restaurant, Kwan’s, run by the cutest couple you could ever possibly meet, hands down (By the way, I had no idea they had a website until I just looked, in case I could link you there. I’m suddenly very excited in a geeky kind of way just to know they’re online). In the corner, there were two middle-aged women eating dinner together. They were the kind of women you’d likely hear about from Garrison Keillor – very Minnesotan, and very full of stories that were hilarious – even if only to them. I couldn’t help but hear nearly every word they said, all the way until they parted ways and left the restaurant. Their conversation wasn’t itself anything worth writing about. They weren’t really that funny. They were just normal-lookin’ and slightly above average. What struck me though was their clear spiritual connection that showed signs of great strength that only comes from being close with someone for a long time. It reminded me of people I have in my life that mean so much to me – and how sometimes we’re pretty much in our own little world where everything is funny and life is good.
I realized what I want in life is to be able to go to a sparsely populated hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant when I’m 54 to meet someone I can laugh and smile with for an hour or two. Someone who’s there to listen to my life and tell me about theirs. I thought about my life right now, and couldn’t help but smile when I saw that I’ve been extraordinarily fortunate to have met people I believe will still be in my life decades from now, and that I can share those kinds of moments with. Although I live about 1,300 miles away from where I grew up, and just as far from all of my family (and I do miss them dearly every day), I’m surrounded by amazing people who ensure my happiness as much as I do theirs. Why? Because I think of them often. They’re top of mind every time I think of myself – because they’re part of me. That for me is true happiness. Your happiness may come from a different place, but for me, that’s all I need.
How do YOU define happiness?
I recently watched an episode of In the Life on PBS called “Orgullo Latino” (which you can read about here).
While I am not Latino (my family heritage is almost entirely German), the Latino culture plays a huge influential role in my life. My tastes in food, music, and art, among other things, often have as many or more roots in Latino culture than my Southern US upbringing. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good gravy biscuit as much as the next North Carolinian, but pastelón? Mofongo? No contest.
I digress (record scratch).
The episode mentioned the recent Time cover story “Yo Decido.” Seeing it presented by this episode about the unique struggles of the LGBT Latino community spoke to me in a way it hadn’t before when I first saw the article. Before, it had been about the power of the Latino vote in the upcoming presidential election. This context, however, reminded me how important it is that people in Minnesota know what they are voting for with the marriage amendment on the ballot.
Of course I will make my voice known by voting, but that’s only the price of admission. What’s most important is making sure people know who I am, and who my family is. When people don’t have context to know what effect this will have on real people they know, it’s unlikely they’ll find the motivation to vote, or to make the right choice when they do. So I believe my real power is in telling my story. By doing so, I will influence others, and then, truly, Yo Decido.