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  • Writer's pictureLyia Meta - My Ink Bleeds

In Pursuit of Perspective: Finding the smile in the rain.

Updated: Jun 29

The pursuit of happiness is a paradox: it’s not found in the chase, but in the quiet acceptance of the present moment where joy quietly resides.

When I was a child, happiness meant accompanying my mom into town to visit The Emporium, the only air-conditioned store around. Despite its grand name, it was a small shop filled with aisles of clothing and kitchenware, which always caught my mom's attention. I cherished those outings, whether we rode in a rickshaw—sometimes squeezing in or squatting on the floor when we were too many for its two seats. If she had a bit extra to spare, we'd go to the Saturday Ice Cafe for a bowl of 'Ais Kacang'—shaved ice topped with sweetened condensed milk, red sugar syrup, red beans, sweetened corn, and colorful jelly. It was Heaven! Those days were filled with happiness, yet often shadowed by my mom's constant worry—an understandable burden rooted in thoughts of the future. Being a mom is tough! Nowadays, I find myself missing the simplicity of those carefree, promising days. Despite having so little, looking back reveals countless reasons to smile.

We all pursue happiness, often thinking it resides in achieving major life goals like landing a dream job, buying a house, or finding the perfect partner. However, happiness is a deeply personal and evolving concept. As we grow and change, so do our sources of joy and fulfillment.

Recognizing that what brought us happiness in the past might not do so in the future is essential, and that’s perfectly natural. The key is to stay flexible and open-minded, ready to embrace new experiences and opportunities as they come. Understanding that happiness is not a destination but a journey can help us stay grounded. These days, all it takes to make me smile or my eyes light up is a bar of chocolate or a cup of coffee (I quit coffee 5 or 6 years ago). Of course, I have my music, but that is another story because it’s an entirely different source of joy and inspiration in my life.

"Making others happy is a noble pursuit, but when it comes at the cost of neglecting your own happiness, it's a silent betrayal of your own well-being."

Life is full of twists and turns, and I guess expecting perpetual happiness is unrealistic. However, in my pursuit of happiness, I often find myself creating happiness or happy situations to make those around me happy because it brings me joy. It's an incredibly difficult habit to maintain and a bad one to have because it can lead to neglecting my own needs and emotions, prioritizing others' happiness over my own well-being. Finding a balance between making others happy and nurturing my own happiness is something I'm working on.

So, now I, find joy in the journey and learning from each experience as I stay in the present and focus on the moment.

"Enjoying life's small pleasures brings genuine happiness."

These days, happiness for me resides in the small, everyday pleasures: morning walks, sharing a good laugh with a friend, a simple conversation over the phone or email, or the satisfaction of completing a project. These simple joys accumulate, fostering a lasting happiness that goes deeper than any individual achievement. Sometimes, happiness is simply embracing oneself without apologies, reservations, or explanations. Many of us hide our true selves from the world as being authentic becomes increasingly challenging. I recently came across the idea that people have different versions of us in their minds, but we are only accountable for our true selves. How true!!!

This realization has taught me that happiness is not a one-size-fits-all concept. What brings me joy today may change tomorrow, and that's perfectly fine. The key is to remain open to new experiences and find contentment in the present moment. Practicing gratitude, nurturing relationships, and prioritizing self-care are integral to this pursuit. Happiness, I've discovered, is about achieving balance—it's about appreciating the journey rather than fixating on a destination.

The quest for happiness is an ongoing journey of self-discovery and personal growth.

In the end, the pursuit of happiness is about savoring the journey and finding joy in the present.

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