Monday, June 18, 2012

Happiness at Home

Today it really hit me how fortunate my life is, and how my latest trip has allowed me to see beauty in every part of it. Not that I didn't notice it before, but somehow everything seemed to align in my life in one moment - the closeness I have with my family, the feelings of success in school and, well, a sheer happiness in general in my life. Lately, or ever since my latest overseas trip, the feeling of fulfillment in my life has been so great - enough to the point that I have felt its greatness every day. But this having happened only since my trip poses the question in my mind: Could this all actually be a result of my overseas trip?

Two posts prior to this one, I wrote about my trip through the British Isles and Paris, France. I think my current feelings of happiness stim from that post - what I wrote about perspective. I learned of the importance of stepping out of all that is native to you, literally, and even if you think it makes you uncomfortable. I mentioned that stepping out of Missouri in particular allowed me to learn which distinctive aspects of the state made it home to me. Having been home for a few weeks now, many of my favorite things about Missouri have begun to stand out, creating more meaning to me than ever. The exhilarating summer drives through the wine countries, the breathtakingly photogenic railroad paths that lay against scenes of agriculture and barn yards, the liveliness of the pond and river areas - the feelings of tranquility that I can experience now in my homeland are more apparent than ever, and they must add greatly to these feelings of my overall happiness; it correlates perfectly with what I want my life goal to be, which is to become as worldly a person as I can be in my lifetime.

But what is most happy-making (if I may quote Pretties, a book from a favorite author of mine, Scott Westerfeld) is the fact that I can find all the things I found beautiful in Europe in Missouri, a state where I have heard only bad things said about it in my whole lifetime. The miserable heat in the summer, the humidity, the unpredictable fluctuation of weather in general - it's enough to have some people in and out the state within a few years. But when we can look past that - the fact that, for some, humid heat sucks so much worse than dry heat - we can find beauty in this Midwest state that most people have not given it the chance to see. Now that I have given Missouri a chance with the new eyes Europe has allowed me to see home with, everything seems genuinely perfect.

I've found happiness and satisfaction from my home state, and though these new realizations of this native beauty are inspiring, I do not intend to quit travelling. It has just made me realize that there is beauty in every place, sometimes you just have to look hard enough to find it.

Or, in my case, you may just have to leave the country for a little while.


Jenny

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