“Passengers departing to the city of Los Angeles, please be informed we are currently on a delay and due to inclement weather we cannot depart at our scheduled time. Thank you for your understanding” Yet again, another delay. Granted, it is a combination of bad weather and traveling too much. Invariably, the golden mean kicks in and you get to experience it all; easy smooth travels, delays, dealing with assholes and of course, nice people that you would do anything to pack them up and take them with you. Aurea Mediocritas aka. the golden mean.
I walked over to the Dunkin’ Donuts kiosk, I needed a sugar-fix on the cheap to keep awake while waiting for take-off. As I go back to the waiting area of the terminal, all seats were taken and didn’t have much of a choice but to sit on floor. I made my way over to the edge of a seating row to be close to an outlet, and as fate would have it, an attractive woman, early 40s was sitting down with who appeared to be her daughter.
We exchanged courtesies as I was plugging in to an outlet directly behind her seat. After talking for sometime, they finally announced we would be boarding shortly. We said our goodbyes as the distance of our seating position got in the way. She went in first, about 30 people went in before it was my turn, sat on the first available spot. A couple of minutes went by and I feel a tap on my shoulder. “Excuse me, your friend asked me kindly if I could give you my seat for you to sit together”. I turn around and there she was -her name is Laurie, a suburban single lady from Boston- waving with a beaming smile on her face and an unshakeable positive attitude, I simply couldn’t resist but to jump at the opportunity of a meaningful interaction rather than diving into a flick or get lost in photos & memories, which won’t be as stimulating as it is with a pleasant human being.
With much gusto, I exchanged my seat and reconnected with her.
“I enjoyed our conversation very much and I wanted to keep it going.” she said.
“What about your daughter… Wouldn’t she mind if her beloved mother is talking to a young, handsome stranger?“
“Mmhh, not at all. She knows that I am very particular about interactions, and besides she’s hypnotized by her cell phone. Same old story every time we travel together.“
“Don’t you worry, my dear. I’d like to think that I am better than an iPad or cellphone.“
“Are you always like this?”
“Better than an iPad?“
“No silly, upbeat & outgoing.”
“I try but I am only human. Ups and downs, you caught me on the way to cloud 9”
After resuming our conversation on life, hopes and dreams, I asked her if she was happy with life, with her state of mind, with herself. She said she was, without hesitating, which I followed-up by asking her about what exactly makes her happy.
She gave me the look as she sighed and said, “It’s the everyday, little things. First and above everything, my daughter. She lights up my day even though she drives me crazy now that she’s starting high school. It’s being able to wake up without any anxiousness I used to feel, the horrors of having married (now divorced) an insecure, possessive man-child who couldn’t stand the fact that I was the one providing and contributing more. It’s the fact that I am free and no longer judged by so-called friends. It’s appreciating those that see beyond the facade, the ones that enjoy my company.”
“We live in an era where we know more about the Kardashians and C-listers than our own family… Screens take more and more of our time.”
I held her hand and said “I know exactly what you mean, yet many people including myself from time to time don’t see it that way. We are caught up in things that don’t matter, we hold irrelevant after-thoughts in a pedestal, material things dictate our status in many different ways while ignoring the things and people that matter. We live in an era where we know more about the Kardashians and C-listers than our own family. Screens take more and more of our time, between social media filled with people that can’t spell a lick to save their lives and unlimited access to free adult entertainment. Shit’s fucked up.”
She couldn’t help but bust a laugh in the middle of such raw, sobering moment. “Maybe I’m old” I lightheartedly disagreed “Old? I don’t see many wrinkles on your face or grey hairs blooming out of that head of yours, and you smell quite nice by the way. Like maple syrup in the morning during wintertime. If that’s old then let me get some of that, old lady.”
With an endearing tone of voice she said “Lucky the girl that snatches you up”. It never gets old I must say, especially coming from those that have seen it all and been through hell & high water. It really means the world even if sometimes I don’t show it. I grabbed her hand and gave her a feathery kiss, held onto it for a minute to tell her to keep fighting the good fight, and what she’s doing as a single mother is beyond admirable.
“Happiness isn’t a thing to be bought… It is the choice we make when we are satisfied with what we have and enjoy the things we do.”
The aircraft landed, we uttered our official goodbyes before splitting and as she gave me her number, she said “If you’re ever in my vicinity, call me so we can get together for a drink.” to which I replied “Luckily for you, I am very accessible. Besides, how can I say no to a cup of joe and a stimulating conversation, lady. It’s the little things, right?“
Yes, it is little things that make us happy, the ones that make all the difference. Certainly having a stable, nice paycheck helps, having tools that facilitate our life come in handy and living in a charming, well put together place is wonderful but experiences with people who enjoy our company make the difference, spending time and resources in experiences that bring us joy, doing what we love regardless of consequences or what other people may think or say. Those are the things that truly matter.
Ultimately, once our time comes to an end on this place we call home, we won’t be able to take the things we own, not even the experiences we once had, and because of that, make sure you do what gives you ‘all the feels’ (as millennials would say), what gives you goosebumps, what elevates you into the euphoric state of feeling alive.
It is a simple concept but yet hard to apply in this day and age. Happiness isn’t a thing to be bought, it isn’t a thing that is available on the Kwik-e-Mart, and it sure isn’t attached to the hip of an affluent status. It is the choice we make when we are satisfied with what we have and enjoy the things we do. That is what brings us that little thing called happiness.