To say that I was a little glum when I wrote my last post would probably be an understatement. Kris and I were both feeling very despondent from the work environment, and had been messed around by the public transportation system to top it off. So, that got me thinking about my happiness horcruxes. For those unfamiliar to the Harry Potter universe, a horcrux is an object used by the big baddie to keep a part of himself alive, even if he would otherwise be dead. So, in essence, a happiness horcrux provides happiness simply by existing in the space where I spend my time.
The first resides in the bedroom of our apartment. It may look like nothing more than a balloon with a cat face inked onto it. It may have seen better days – it is rather deflated now, and I was afraid to even touch it out of fear of it deflating more. But it is the memory behind this small piece of inflated plastic that provides the magic. After we taught our last class of our first week at our school, all of the foreign teachers gathered in the teachers’ room. Every day, we are required to stay 30 minutes after our last class, to ‘prep for the next day’s lessons’. A lot of the time since then, we have, but not on that day. On that first Friday, we spent that entire time in a circle of chairs, simply bopping this very balloon up, and down, and up, and down. Few words were spoken, because we were concentrating, entranced by the slow rise and fall of the balloon. Nevertheless, we were all smiling almost the entire time. It was a wonderful bonding moment for us. We all felt like our particular group of teachers was something special. And we have been since. That simple memory of unadulterated joy and wonder at a small object bouncing around a room never ceases to put a smile on my face.
My second major happiness horcrux spends its life on my desk at work. Sadly, I did not remember to photograph it for purposes of this post. Like the balloon, it is simple in nature. It is a small flower cut from red paper, with the words ‘I love you’ written on it. Of course, it is from my darling Kristen. It was a leftover from a science experiment that she did with her class one morning, and I found it on my desk soon after. I have kept it in sight there ever since, and it gives me a little boost every time I sit down at my desk and look at it.
This is the Ultimate Disc team that Kristen and I play in every weekend – Bune. The picture was taken on our first weekend as a team. It was absolutely belting with rain for most of the day, but we played with everything we had, and had tremendous fun in the process, as we always do with Ultimate. There was definitely something special about that day. We may not have played like international all-stars, but we all did whatever we could and drew as much enjoyment from every moment as we could. That is what will remain in my mind whenever I look at the (slightly pixelated) version on my laptop screen. That is what I draw that second or third or fourth wind from when I am feeling as deflated as the cat balloon during a hard day at work.
The fourth happiness horcrux is one that I use far too rarely: contact with family and friends. A kind word from my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins or whoever is willing to take time out of their busy lives to check up on us means more than we can ever express. Be it a Skype call, an email, or something as simple as a Facebook message or comment, they all help Kristen and I keep in touch with the emotional world we left behind. And every one gives us unprecedented joy. I know that my friends and family form a large part of the readership of this blog at this point. So, I just wanted to say thank you. And never stop keeping in touch!
My most important happiness horcrux, I have left for last. This one has remained with me for several years, despite my best efforts. I treasure this more than I do my own life or happiness. My final happiness horcrux is:
My girlfriend Kristen. There is nothing or no-one else in the world from which I draw more happiness, joy, strength, love, or any other positive feeling I could possibly list. She is my rock. Despite the moderately crazy look on her face, she keeps me grounded. She distracts or encourages me when things aren’t going my way. And, for reasons unknown to me, she loves me. Without her, I most certainly would not be in Korea. She did all of the administrative work, for which I will forever be grateful. Without her, I would not be the man I am today. I have never felt more able to be me, and not some false version of myself that I feel is necessary to navigate life. I love her with everything that I am, and I hope that we never part.
From seemingly insignificant objects to the love of my life, I draw happiness from many things. While there are most certainly other occurrences and happenings that give me joy, the ones above are those that I draw the most from, on the most regular basis. They keep me sane, happy, and on track. And while some may deflate, get thrown out, or replaced, others will remain, to guard against sadness and (more socially hindering levels of) insanity. For all of these happiness horcruxes, I am grateful. I hope you all find the things in your life that keep you happy, and hold on to them. You may not need them every day, but when you do, they will save you.