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I drew over the yellow pages what I believed to be a map to happiness.

I sat in the woods, my 7 year old fingers gripping the edges of a crinkled piece of paper torn from the phone book.
I drew over the yellow pages what I believed to be a map to happiness.

Just down the trail, across the creek and beyond the abandoned house.

Certainly at the end of this journey I would find it.
What I was looking for, I’m not sure I knew then.
I simply longed for something different.

I craved the dirt beneath my feet, the sweet smell of adventure in the air and the glorious breathe of independence to push me forward.
The hope that someone would miss me while I was gone.
The belief that my existence could mean more to the world than what I felt I was given.

As I sit here 22 years later, my crinkled piece of paper replaced by leather bound journals I find myself still drawing the same map.
Making up my own trails to happiness.

And I guess in a way, I’m still that little girl running away from home.
When things get sticky or when they’re not exactly right. I am perpetually working towards more and better.

I took a walk the other day upon which I realized, things in my life are good.
I’m happy.
If I were to die tomorrow I would know I lived.
If you told me I would die in two weeks I probably wouldn’t change much.

With that, I grew anxious.
I thought of ways that things could go wrong.
I even mentally distanced myself a bit from the people that I love.
I felt the need to prepare for the worst.

I thought of ending important relationships in preparation for the impending doom.
I grew anxious about doing a good job at work.
I researched flights to Europe.

I guess what I’m saying is, being happy being content can be just as scary as feeling chaotic.
When things are at peace it can feel as though you don’t know how to stop working towards more.

We watched a kayaker the other day.
He put into the river and he paddled up stream.
As I watched him struggle, I couldn’t quite figure out why he would do that.
Eventually,  it registered to me that once he got to a certain point he’d be able to ride blissfully back to his car.
The ease of which he’d end his ride was only possible by the frustrating journey to get there.
All of the preparation and hard work, it was planned for a fun ride back down.

I feel as though I’ve been paddling up stream my entire life.
Now that I have a season of riding the reward of that hard work, I’m not sure I know how to stop moving my arms.

I considered jumping out, for fear of being thrown out by the waves.
Certainly this happiness isn’t possible for long.
Instead, I decided to just ride it out.
To stop when I’m able, to look around and breathe it in.

This may not be here for long.
But, while it is, I’n choosing to believe in its magic.

with love,

Sarajane.

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