the sunrise.

by iren monkey

in honor of International Day of Happiness yesterday, i’d like to open up and say that i find strength in those who choose happiness —

not to be confused with those who say they “want to be be happy”, because that holds the same weight to me as someone who says they want chicken for dinner…man, i’m talking about the ones who “want to pursue happiness”…the ones who want chicken for life.  the ones ready to dedicate themselves to chicken forever.

that shit ain’t easy, y’all!

“Happiness is a state of mind, a choice, a way of living; it is not something to be achieved, it is something to be experienced.”
– Steve Maraboli

people have the propensity to forget that happiness is an oscillating state of mind that needs relentless pursuit.  i think that’s why it’s so common to hear people say “i want to be happy,” yet we see them repeatedly dejected.  from my experience, the decision to truly be happy has to be a daily decision.  yes, it’s a struggle…but like any other struggle, you come across setbacks along the way that knock you off-track.

you just have to find your way back on.

the strategy and speed to go about the pursuit is completely individualized: just as what makes each person happy in the first place is completely personalized.

that’s where reviewing, revising, and rewriting plans to get to the end goal comes into play.  everyone has their own happiness to chase…so there are no comparisons, blueprints, or maps to follow — everyone is on their own.  it’s safe to say, the source of happiness isn’t found with others…it’s found through your own personal pursuit.

so don’t give up.

some of the most beautiful situations to witness are when people recognize, restart, and rebuild their lives toward happiness — especially when people have dealt with so much difficulty for an extended period of time.  it shows that they have hope.

i liken it to a sunrise.

everyone loves a good sunrise.

the sunshine just hits them like when you wake up in the morning.  they finally comprehend that it’s ok to let things go, come to terms with whatever they’re going through, and it’s just not healthy anymore.  they arrive at an epiphany that it’s been a choice to stay this whole time.  but most importantly, they finally grasp that there is a way out of the darkness; they just have to keep looking for it.

it’s such an exhibition of courage and will power.

…and i’ve been there.

“…the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal…”
-The General Assembly of the United Nations

plainly speaking, looking for happiness is an essential part of human existence.  it is comprehensive and unprejudiced.

so keep going….

because everyone loves a good happy ending.

everyone deals with pain; it’s just as relatable as happiness.  and since the heroes become less superhuman and more realistic as underdogs, that archetype as the protagonist fuels everyone’s passion for their journey much more intensely. we fight alongside them and root for them until the end because they’re going through daily struggles too.  that being said, although a person’s struggles are all their own, they aren’t necessarily alone in fighting.

it’s an ageless tale of overcoming the odds —

…and we’re all suckers for a good comeback story.

it keeps hope alive.

speaking of stories, one of the perks of working in OB/Neo Care is the ability to meet all kinds of people from different walks of life who were starting a common new chapter.  every person has their own story and i’m thrilled that i’m not only in the audience, but i also have a supporting role in life-changing sequences they’ll never forget on a monumental page of their histories.


i met this woman last month.  she was my age…twenty-nine.  she just had her first child —

but she and her child’s father weren’t together.

(sounds like any old setup
from down the way, right?
let me continue…)

she had been on and off with this man for years…

he’s dated others but has kept coming back to her…

it’s been 9 years now…
and he was her first love.

now they have this innocent product of their cyclical relationship.  where do they go from here?

there is no better reality check than a baby.  a baby is a physical manifestation of innocence, a brand new start, hope…and a second chance at happiness.  you know, those recognize-restart-rebuild situations that i mentioned earlier?  one was about to happen, so needless to say, i was already tuned in to watch it unfold.  i asked the brand new mom —

“what now?”

she just shrugged it off and said,
“we know it’s all about Kayden now.”

it was beautiful.

i saw them see the sunrise.  within a matter of 3 days, i watched this non-couple work together, in increased speed, to build up strength and choose happiness for their modern family.

they recognized that happiness is a relative term — because happiness didn’t necessarily mean “happily ever after” with each other, but instead “happily ever after” through their child.

they restarted by running through a checklist of the pros and cons of their status quo in their heads.  they discussed the most basic aspects of life as they start their new conjoined lives along with a new life in their hands.

  • what could they do to make the best of their situation?
  • what could they do to make the environment the most healthy for their son?
  • who could they turn to for help and support?
  • what problems could they anticipate and curb before it gets any worse?
  • what sacrifices can they make?

they rebuilt and went through the motions…by taking their discussions and going forth from there…constantly communicating their concerns and reviewing, revising, and rewriting plans to keep their eye on the prize.  they were on this journey…and they weren’t giving up.

the transformation was remarkable to observe and such a reinforcement that…

happiness is, and always will be, an unquestionable goal for everyone.

i can’t promise that it will be easy for them to stay at a constant state of happiness, but i can assure that for as long as they stay strong and dedicated to their journey, they will all be on their way.

and since we’re already story-telling, i can’t possibly end this blog without talking about myself haha.

i said earlier that i’ve been there…

correction:  i’m still there.

my own pursuit for happiness has been both arduous and humbling.  but i’ve learned to feel and appreciate everything about my struggles.

as i’m steadily approaching my 30th birthday in the next 2 1/2 weeks, i’ve taken notice that a predominant recurrence is the experience of heavy scrutiny the entirety of my adult life.  looking around me, i think i’ve experienced it more than others because most of said-scrutiny has been focused on the fact that i am unmarried.  unlike my peers who have their houses and 2.5 children in the ‘burbs, i preferred a more free approach at life and a piercing focus on my own personal desires.  out of all the unwelcomed opinions that i’ve received, 99% of those opinions say that i’m unhappy without a companion and i’ve just been pretending to be ok with it.

unfortunately, for most of the decade,
i wrongfully believed them.

i’ve spent the last year discerning
that those opinions were absolutely false.

i recognized that being first generation Asian-American and having grown up in the South were two of many factors that put me at an even greater disadvantage than a typical person in their 20’s.  not only am i a woman, i am a minority woman in the South surrounded by obsolete ideologies that oppressed/suppressed/stressed anyone who didn’t believe/follow them.

i restarted from scratch and took from my personal experience in failures and victories and took a more proactive role to find my happiness.  i ran through a checklist of what made me happy and unhappy.  i realized that letting others affect my decisions and mindset was what truly made me unhappy.  i was following their blueprints and it was counterproductive to my own pursuit.

i’ve just been rebuilding ever since…keeping hope alive and constantly reviewing, revising, and rewriting my plans to get to my end goal of getting out of the darkness and looking forward to the sunrise.  i’ve come a long way.  1,390 miles in literal distance to be exact…but the figurative distance of this journey is marvelously infinite and i’m not giving up.

as for a companion?  i could give two shits if that person is out there.  not that i’m rejecting the idea, but i am indifferent.  i’m not alone anyway.  i’ve got everyone in the world to root for and rooting for me so let’s just all stay strong in this journey together.  we all have wonderful comeback stories to write and i can’t wait to read them.

so if you find yourself in darkness and losing hope, don’t worry.  because happiness is just around the corner if you choose to stay strong and pursue it…

so look for the sunrise, my friends.
i’m right there with you.