Through the centuries people have sought after what makes a happy life. Buddhism holds the promise of reaching such a state of being at some point and Greek philosophers held town square debates over the question of how to reach happiness. In my home country many seems to hold to the view that one has to love oneself, enjoy life, be loved and do fun things in order to be happy. I have reached quite the opposite conclusion here in South Sudan.
When people ask me “how are you?” I tell them I am well and happy with what I am doing although I find it hard to explain what constitutes that. Many of the ingredients used to sauce up a happy life back home are not present here: hobbies, great food, day trips, good friends, a partner, sports, fun night outs. Don’t get me wrong I am by no means a monk; I have been fortunate to travel close to 50 countries and love a bohemian lifestyle. It somehow just doesn’t seem to be a prerequisite, nor out and in itself constructs happiness. As I somehow seem to find it regardless of it or in the lack of it. In a cosmic irony, at times, it’s in denying ourselves and giving up comfort we get happiness in return, ultimately hinting at that we were perhaps not made to live for ourselves but others.
Here do I find myself, in a small town in the world’s poorest country, at the moment waiting for the electricity to get back on. Good, bad, I don’t know.. but I feel some kind of inner peace and maybe out of all the enjoyments life has to offer that’s all I really need. Perhaps happiness is not a destination to reach nor something to look after, but something you find along the way and simply makes for a great life’s companion 🙂