Happiness sometimes happens to you. Occasionally you're in a moment, or a time of life, or even a job or relationship that gives you easy and unencumbered joy. Sometimes that joy is sustained through weeks, months, permeating stress and giving a happy glow to every facet of your life.
But of course the passive happiness doesn't last. It never does.
And then one must look for happiness, find joy in frustration, determinedly beeline toward optimism.
In a life of familiar, I found the act of seeking joy to be quite simple. A tough month was remedied with a day trip to Hanging Rock to hike up a mountain. A terrible date required a night with Amanda or Chloe. Taking comfort in happy places, in favorite meals and in old friends, is a unique joy of staying put.
I can't do any of those things.
But I didn't sign up for a comfortable life. I didn't sign up for familiar.
Exploration doesn't just mean blissful Instagrams of world wonders and perfectly arranged exotic meals. It means finding what makes you happy when everything hurts, when you're exhausted and homesick and getting over food poisoning.
It's an active, stubborn happy.
It's the happy of making new friends, of deciding to be vulnerable and give a real answer to "how was your week?" instead of a noncommittal "okay."
It's the happy of saying yes to a beach party 80 minutes away (by bus) when your lack of motivation is pulling you towards a sleepy evening in.
It's the happy of knowing your favorite mountain is halfway across the globe, but still finding joy in nature.
You fight for it. You look for it. You try ten things until something gives you that warm, contented glow. And thankfully, because the human experience is not so depraved, that glow still permeates stress, still brightens every facet of life.