And so I fled fast and far away from my own little city life to the Midwest with Mr. B. Surely, I would find happiness in a slower paced, smaller town? A different scene than I was used to?
Again, I was missing something. Some integral piece of me was not clicking into place. The truth was that I wasn't happy in Wichita. I was restless and bored and a little lonely at times. I didn't get it. Where did I belong? We moved and we moved and we settled here and there. And each place held some great things and some not so great things and sometimes I was content and sometimes I wasn't. I could never quite put my finger on it. The question on my mind: How do I get to this happy place? This ideal in my mind of where I should be living out the rest of my days.
It took me a few years, but I think I finally get it.
You see, an hour ago, I got the most intense urge to get in my car and go. Just go. The sun was just beginning to set and the breeze was just right and the day's heat was starting to lessen. And I thought to myself, I must go. So I left under the pretense of getting ice cream (which let's be honest, wasn't so much a pretense as an added bonus after a good cruise around town). I opened the sunroof and rolled all the windows down. I poked around radio stations until I found the right song and I turned it all the way up. And I just drove.
Out of my neighborhood and down through the countryside. Past the cows, overlooking hills in the distance. I passed the horses grazing in the fields and the sunset was the perfect backdrop. It would have been a priceless picture, but all I could do was mentally soak it in. I breathed in the smell of freshly mowed grass (my favorite Summer smell) and I let my hair get all messy while the wind whipped it around. I sang with my heart in it.
In that moment, it all clicked together. I realized that this is it. This is as good as it gets. This is the good stuff right here. And it has taken me years to find that place in my soul, but finally I've stumbled across it and I'm going to hold onto this moment like there's no tomorrow, because this? Right here? Is perfect.
And it's not about concrete jungles or fashion or small towns or fast or slow paces. It has nothing to do with what side of the country I'm on or even what continent.
It is a hillside at sunset. It's the feeling of simultaneously being so big and so small. Of feeling infinite against an endless horizon and driving through a tunnel of enormous shady trees. It is hearing the crickets at night, the birds chirping in the morning and seeing a vast array of stars at midnight. It is children laughing down the street, playground swings creaking and parents reminding little ones that they have to come in when the street lamps come on. It is the knowledge that nothing, absolutely nothing, is open 24/7 and there's a certain thrill in the creativity that ensues. It is the fun one can have if there is. It is the friends and the family and the significant others that add the laughs, the support, the love.
It is me, sitting on my back porch while the wind swirls round and the only light left is the illumination of my laptop screen as I type this.
It is understanding that most of the time, I am in charge of creating my own happiness, but that sometimes happiness finds me when I'm not even looking. In knowing that we are all connected across this planet, whether we are near or far.
And that's really all that my soul needed after all.