There are few things I like more than impromptu hangouts with old friends. Especially when they involve halloween and horror movies on rainy days under cozy blankets. There is something very calming to me about just existing together even if we’re not talking much. Even better if they’ll subconsciously play with my- admittidly tagled- hair.
I’m big on connection. For example, one of the best days of my life was spent disgustingly sweaty and dirty and on the concrete floor of a school gym in the middle of the Amazon rainforest with a class of 5/6 year olds who didn’t speak a word of english. At first they were shy and didnt know what to do, but as we stuck it out and continued to try it got easier and easier until eventually we were rolling around playing hand games and laughing together. I am saddened by the fact that I will most likely never meet these kids again. But I know that for one day in May they touched my heart in a why that is irreversable.
These students that me and a handfull of others played with have so little that the entire reason we were there was to start the process of garunteeing them clean water. And yet they were exponentially happier than I was. And from that I learened what I think might be the most important lesson of my life: that happiness is not a product of having but a product of acceptance. And not acceptance in the terms of lying down and letting whatever happens happen, but in the sense that we choose. We always choose our happiness. Even speaking from a place of having been treated for clinical depression, we choose.
I know that where I live and in many places around the world that is such a foreign concept that it seems untrue. And I’m not trying to preach to anyone. But I promise you, if you open your heart to something that seems too much, or too painful, yes it may hurt, but i promise you you will be better for it. Going to Ecuador was one of the hardest things I have ever done in terms of how it grew me. But I will forever be indebted to the people who I met in Los Rios and the surrounding communities.