After almost two years of planning, I am now a temporary resident of Canada on a study permit. I am enrolled in the Master of Publishing program at Simon Fraser University, and have signed the dotted line on a large bounty for my head post-graduation.
And yet now that I’m here, my mind wanders. Images flash in my mind, looking out over a particularly beautiful hiking vista at Yosemite National Park. A place where I don’t have to identify a loonie and a toonie at a moment’s sight, or be asked if I have a bit for a Robertson screw. I can just relax and take in the view.
Sure, I’ve met plenty of people in Vancouver already. However, every fellow student I’ve talked to about my passions has deafened me with their yawns. The only thing most of them know about Portland is that it’s a gridded city and that there’s “cheap shopping” because of Oregon’s lack of a sales tax. Despite Vancouver’s friendly and livable reputation, all sources say that bike theft is so rampant that not only should I never take my Sweetpea to school, but I should even keep it well-secured inside my locked apartment.
Between the homesickness, culture shock, and other remaining sadnesses, this afternoon I thought about my ultimate goal: to be happy. The goal has always been the same, but what has changed in the past several months is what I think will get me there. Ten years ago, I was sure it was education, which is why for the past ten years my goal has been to proceed into the next degree program.
Well I’m here now, and yet I don’t seem to be any happier.
Should I read that book where the woman tried different things over a year in a quest for happiness? Turns out she has an interesting website, including an blog post about how borrowing thousands of dollars for your education is not a happiness guarantee. (Thanks guys-I read that about 6 months too late.)
I do know this: the times I’ve been happiest are when I’ve felt like I had a solid, connected relationship with somebody. And it turns out that I just moved away from a few people like that. Except often I find that the happiness is one-sided: people become too busy for me or practice “out of sight, out of mind” and I’m left wondering what I did wrong. In other words: also not a guarantee for happiness.
It seems like the only thing left is one’s outlook on life. Is happiness a state of mind and result of positive thinking?
If so, I’m totally screwed.