Commonplace; A Bank of Smiles

I thought this particular finding would be an amazing thing to share on my online platform. I discovered this gem as I was working this morning. My co-worker and I decided to clean up the clutter in our front desk to bring it up to dead storage. After we carried up a bunch of paint cans (why we even need paint cans I will never know) and miscellaneous boxes, we happened upon various journals serving as day logs for Alternative Breaks participants across the world from years ago. The page utters something we should always keep in mind.

This Alt Break journal was from students who travelled to South Africa in 2012, I believe. The reason why this particular page struck me was because of the creative word map outlining what happiness is. I think this connects to what we have been discussing in class lately. Even though the author included her own interpretation of the map below it, I read it in my own way; I saw my own memories forming and identifying with the student’s diagram. I like how the Alt Break participant did not include ‘love’ in her drawing because it is an implicit feeling. By just writing those words and phrases she did, one can relate it back to any shape love takes for oneself.

Happiness is not dependent upon one variable, as the author indicates. True bliss comes from being at peace with so many things and finding the good in life. Finding the good in life, for the creator and myself equally, is feeling the community engrained into one’s culture and heritage; it is dancing wherever and whenever you go and encountering those who dance with you, making that bond; it is honest to God laughter that hurts your insides; happiness is connecting with the music, not just in the words but in the beat that allows the words to come to life; finding the good is spending time with your family and giving them the same amount of love they give you or even more; happiness stems from being secure of one’s identity in a sea of insecurity. Most importantly, happiness is that small little gesture that means so much more than one can even realize when genuine: an exchange of smiles. Between friends. Between lovers. Between strangers. Between enemies.

The good in life, you can’t force it, man. Now, try and tell me a smile means nothing because a whole world of hope would beg to differ.

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