The Key to Happiness

Lila - Wichita, Kansas
Entered on March 3, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

The Key to Happiness

Since I was little my dad has repeatedly told me that life is unfair. As a child this is the last thing that I wanted to hear, but the truth in that statement is overpowering. Life is harsh, unforgiving, and at many times unbearable. The only possible way to make it through without losing any vital body parts is to find the key to happiness. I believe the key to happiness is living in the small, powerful moments in order to tackle the huge, excruciating ones.

Often times the moments that appear insignificant are what shape my life the most. They may be include songs I cannot listen to without tears streaming down my face, a book that is so perfect it seems to have been written just for me, or a three hour phone conversation without a single silence. To collect these moments and to live from one to the next is the key to true happiness. It is impossible to describe how to recognize these monumental moments except for the deep aching feeling that overwhelms when everything is perfect for a split second. The world is too horrible of a place to bypass these powerful instances that occur in everyday life.

I consider myself lucky to have not only discovered my key to happiness at such a young age, but I have also uncovered a place where every moment that passes is life changing. For me, this place is Shwayder Camp. I have attended Shawyder since I was 12 years old, but it was not until recently that I realized the powerful role that it plays in my life. It is undeniable that the majority of my goose bump-raising moments have occurred at Shwayder. The most memorable would have to be my first sighting of a shooting star. I, along with my fellow cabin mates, was lying on a rickety dock near the passing river, staring up at the clear sky. Considering the camp is set at 10,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains, to say that lying out in our pajamas was a chilly experience is an understatement. To a passerby we probably appeared to be nothing more than a huge pile of sleeping bags. Not only was I surrounded by people I love, but to see a shooting star was breathtaking. In that instant I understood that although life seems impossible I will be able to get through it all right; a realization that brought incredible comfort.

It is too easy in a world such as ours to become so focused on the major occurrences that we forget to notice the most important ones. Life is terrifying but moments like these make it seem possible to conquer. My secret is to grab a hold of them, stick them in my pocket, and whenever things become too difficult, pull out my key to happiness.