Discovering happiness

Kuri, or chestnut, fallen off a tree in Otaki forest, Chiba, Japan.
My friends Alana and Kaitlyn (both from Wisconsin) and myself posing with cardboard cutout of J-pop singer at Moshi Moshi Nippon.
Boat of sashimi in Koenji, Tokyo, Japan.
Flooded rice fields near my apartment at dusk.

A good friend of mine messaged me today and told me, “You’re the woman!” All laughs aside, it was very sweet.

“You live life the way it should be,” he said.

Such a high compliment from someone I very much love and respect. He was, of course, referring to my moving to Japan, despite it being a huge career, social and cultural (not to mention language) change at the age of 27.

I responded, “There are many ways!”
But, I am glad he brought it up, because why I came to Japan is a question I get asked a lot. The simple answer is a job. But, it does go beyond that. Truthfully, I don’t think I could have rightfully and intimately answered this question a month ago.
I knew I had come to Japan because Japanese culture is something I enjoy. I knew I had come because it was an amazing opportunity to try a new career. And I knew I had come here because it was something I just couldn’t pass up.
But the catalyst for my moving 14 hours away from the state I had resided in my entire life goes beyond “just needing a change.” It’s about the type of change I needed. I craved the taste of something new and the taste of a true challenge. I wanted to see what I was made of.

Here are my longwinded thoughts on the matter

There are many ways to be happy. As an example, some of us choose to travel or live abroad, some of us settle down and have a family sooner than others and some of us drink 5 out of 7 days a week.
I had my own ideas and opinions on these in the past, but now, try not to analyze other people’s happiness. I think that it’s really the CHOOSING that matters, more so than what it actually is that makes you happy.
We can’t be happy unless we figure out what works for us indiviudally. Each person has a different way.
A lot of times, we are lost and we simply float along clinging on to other people’s ideas of what will make us happy, because we haven’t taken the time or energy to try new things to find out what will make us happy. It’s OK to be lost because most of the time we’re are lost.
The way I’ve found I’m most happy is just try new things and find myself along the way.
“New things” more often than not create challenges. I’ve realized that I am the type of person who enjoys challenges. Sure, it’s nice to have a lazy Sunday afternoon, but for me, a lot of the time I’d rather be out doing something, exploring, learning, finding, getting whatever I can out of life.
Some people admire that, such as my friend. Others think, “That is NOT for me.” And that’s the point. Either way is OK. But we have to be secure enough in our own decisions to know and feel this, instead of comparing ourselves. (Truthfully, this is what growing up has mainly consisted of for me. Ah hem… I’m still “growin up.”
Japan challenges me every day in every way, though I am getting more and more used to life here. And yes, I am enjoying it.
I don’t think that moving across the world is for everyone, but if you’re like me, I’d definitely suggest it.
{And I’d love to hear other people’s stories, if you read this and are willing to share…}
However, now, there’s even more to contemplate about the future…
Until next time,

One thought on “Discovering happiness

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s