It’s not a walk I want to repeat anytime soon but it served its purpose. It runs uphill in both directions, was pretty much deserted and gave me the exercise I needed without having to drive anywhere on roads I am beginning to mistrust. In fact, Red Mountain Road itself was pretty darn icy in most places.
The long monotonous walk (four hours) gave me a good chance to reflect on life in mostly existential terms. One of the subjects I focussed my razor-like mind on was happiness (dull, much-used razor, actually missing a blade most of the time).
Like so many people, I have parroted the well-worn idea that we are responsible for our own happiness and, in fact, that we choose to be happy or not. Now I’m not recanting on that, but I do believe that like most verbal “sound-bites” this one is a bit simplistic.
I think there’s more to it than that. I do believe that we are generally doing the best we can in life, given what we know. The secret to doing better then is to know more, particularly about ourselves. So, in order for me to be happy, I have to know what makes me happy. There’s very little point sitting in a cesspool and saying, “I decide to be happy!”
I suspect I’d be much better off knowing that I’m happier when I’m not sitting in a cesspool – that way I can get myself out of it. Sometimes however, our choices are more nuanced: perhaps there are two paths that look appealing: which to choose? Both have possibilities. One will make me happy and the other – well, maybe it will too.
Sometimes we make wrong choices. Maybe we didn’t know it at the time – suspected perhaps – but gave it a shot. Now what? I think the answer again is “Know yourself.”
I thought about all the choices I’ve made in my life and certainly, the older I got the better they became. I worked hard at discovering myself and creating a blueprint for my happiness. I know what makes me happy. Sometimes I still make bad choices. That’s when it’s time to course correct. I know this all appears to be leading to where I am now and the choice I made to live here – wrong choice.
I’m not so sure about that. I may have been a few days ago but right now, I think this experience, like so many in my life, is going to serve me well.
Simon knows that I don’t share his love for this place. He also knows that I chose this place because I wanted him to have this experience. I didn’t want him to have regrets about passing up this opportunity. I know that it is only the things we don’t do in life that we regret – not the things we do. And that’s why I’ll never regret buying this house and moving here whereas I think he probably would have regretted not giving this a chance.
But Simon, being the amazing man he is, understands that in my life my happiness is born of experiences. I have loved my life during the last years because I have filled them with experiences – none more profound or thrilling than this past summer when we toured the Rockies and shared those experiences.
Etched in my heart and mind are all the times, Simon said, in complete wonderment, “Look where we are!” He uttered those words on top of remote mountain passes and at the foot of impossibly majestic peaks – sometimes near the tops of those peaks and once at the crest of a razor-sharp ridge. Yes – look where we are – and not just physically. Look where we are together in spirit and heart.
I have no idea how much longer I have in this life to accumulate those kinds of experiences and those kinds of blissed-out moments. But I want as many as I can gather in and I want to share them with the Love of my Life. Yes, I want a home base to return to because a cozy retreat and haven is important to me. But I want to sleep under the stars and I want to wander the high ridges and touch ancient trees. I want to experience enough beauty that my heart fills and overflows.
Simon understands this. This is a blessing so big I can’t contain it. And this makes me happy. Choosing happiness – I chose happiness when I chose Simon and now we are choosing happiness together.
The way I see it, this house in this place is one of our adventures. More adventures await.