This I Believe

Susan - Eugene, Oregon
Entered on January 31, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in the simple things in life. I am not an extraordinary person; I have led a life within the bounds of ordinary experience. Yet this life has given me the full breadth of human emotion: fantastic joy, overwhelming sorrow, humility and pride, love and hate.

When I was younger, I thought I would find happiness in wild adventure, saving the world, and meeting fascinating people in exotic places. I yearned for an extraordinary life. When I was 16, my father, who had been my idol, my hero, my mentor, died suddenly and unexpectedly. This event led me down a long, slow spiral of bad decisions and self-destructive behavior that landed me in the depths of depression. Dark, painful, self-doubting, joyless depression. Thanks to a basically healthy psyche, good relationships, and a lot of hard work, I crawled out of that hole and now lead a happy, fulfilling, love-filled life.

Now I know that true happiness – the kind that lasts, and withstands life’s inevitable bumps and bruises, comes from every day experiences – time with friends, taking care of your family, pride in a job well done. Each person needs to find their own happiness. For me, it is laughing with my kids, sharing a rare, quiet moment with my husband, good food with good friends: simple things, ordinary things.