Before I share the stories of people around the United States, I feel it’s only fair to first share my story- to share what makes me happy, and what I believe happiness is.
There are many things that make me happy- I love my family. I love my friends. I love ice cream. I love socks. I love sweaters. I love spring. I love hugs. All those things bring me happiness- but if there is one thing I have learned- happiness can’t be a pleasure. Happiness comes from within.
I was born in Vladivostok, Russia. I was adopted at the age of two and I was raised in Utah. I learned to have a passion for photography, and I realized that I loved sharing goodness with the world. All these good things in my life didn’t just come to me, I had to work at it and allow myself to get through the rough things first- and that’s where my knowledge on happiness began. I began to learn what happiness was through an experience that was hard, and even though I felt sorrow and pain- the happiness I felt after, was even better than I had ever experienced.
I was 15 years old and I had gotten in a terrible care accident. My best friend had passed away that day and it left me torn and distraught. My life seemed black and white. There was no color and no happiness in the life I was living. I felt like giving up. I felt that I was alone, and that no one understood what I was going through. Happiness seemed impossible.
I guess like all 15 year olds, we think we have life figured out. We think that life goes how we want it, and we expect it to. But I learned from this experience that, happiness comes first by what comes into your head a long time before it comes into your hands. From the moment I realized that, I mentally had to make steps that made me happy. I had to choose to wake up and put a smile on my face. I had to find the things that made me happy, and seek for who I was behind the wall I put up. It didn’t come the next day. It didn’t come a week later. The happiness within me grew as I made a conscious effort to decide to be happy. It didn’t come till I decided that I choose for myself who I want to be. I learned that we always tend to give ourselves a limit-but happiness has no limit.
Happiness to me is a quest- it’s a path. Happiness is learning. Happiness is progressing. Happiness is becoming someone- it’s creating my path and allowing my path to change me. Happiness is an action. Happiness is continuous. Happiness is attained through my hands. Happiness comes by my choice- and I choose to to be happy.