Saturday, September 24, 2011
The pursuit of happiness
Tonight in the Relief Society session of General Conference, President Uchdorf touched on the topic of being happy now- of finding joy in what is happening in our lives at the moment, and not holding out for one magical event to take us to the land of happily ever after. And as I listened, I realized that by and large, that's not something I have a problem with. I do agree with President Uchdorf's added caution that we deserve to always be working to improve ourselves and reach towards goals, but life is so good. And today was a great example of its goodness. This morning I got up at six in order to hike Deseret Peak with Emily, Trevor, and Trevor's friend Ben. We didn't actually get on the trail until shortly after nine, due to the fact that we left a little late and it was an hour drive from Sugarhouse. But Emily and Trevor and both very fun people to talk to, as Ben proved to be also. The hike was definitely strenuous, but so fun. We marked our pace by keeping far enough ahead of a scout troupe that we couldn't hear them coming up behind us. If they got within earshot (and since these are scouts we're talking about, it was a pretty long earshot), we'd get moving. Fortunately, everyone very kindly put up with my penchant for stopping to take note of the flora and foliage, and I even had Trevor and Emily eating wild currents and elderberries with me. After that, Ben was making jokes about the younger berries, filled with angst, that grow really well next to wild oats. Oh, dear. There was a small, unfortunate incident in which Trevor did a handstand and landed, flat on his back, in a patch of burrs. We then engaged in some social grooming, since wearing a pack with a back full of burrs would be incredibly painful. Of course, while Emily and I were pulling burrs off his shirt, the group of older men that we'd just passed caught up with us. We were quick to assure them that we don't normally engage in social grooming. We summitted at lunchtime, and had a fabulous 360-degree view of Salt Lake, Toelle, and the West Desert. We stood on the peak of a little island of green in a sea of brown, hostile environment, and out to the west, the salt flats were clearly visible. It's amazing what a change in elevation can do for the ecosystem! Also at the summit, we found small snow banks. Ben mysteriously disappeared from view and reappeared a short time later, with some snow, laboriously chipped from the hardened bank, to throw at Trevor. We were impressed by the amount of effort that went into that. On the way down, our main adventure was opting to more or less slide down a ravine rather than go around the longer, and flatter, loop in the trail. I managed to find about every hole in the ground, well concealed with foliage, and once I sneezed so hard I almost knocked myself over backwards. But it was a beautiful little ravine, and that's where we added wild raspberries to our cache of edible snacks along the way. We concluded our journeys with a sing-a-long in the car on the drive back. On our descent, I had been singing songs to myself (note to siblings: there was no dining room table present, so this was legal). Most of the songs were from musicals, which apparently put Trevor in a musical frame of mind, so he and I sang along to Les Mis, Wicked, Mary Poppins, and other great shows as we drove. Then tonight, after the Relief Society broadcast, we had an unusually quiet and comfortable evening at our house. Amy was gone, but the rest of us randomly congregated downstairs, and as Kerstin transcribed her grandma's old journals, Amber cleaned the bathroom, and Cassaundra did a workout, I sat at my sewing machine, working on yet another project, and thought about how nice it was to have everyone home, and all downstairs together. We are such a busy group of girls that our schedules very rarely line up like that, and it felt so domestic and homey that it brought a certain contentment and peace to my soul. It reminded me that I truly do love my life right now, and at the same time, that that feeling is my goal. Hopefully I'll get to experience it more in the not-incredibly-distant future by having my own home with my own family, but my roommates are my adopted family for now, and I love that we love and trust each other enough to feel that kind of kinship and peace in our home. That's a big deal. A lot of people don't get to experience that. So, President Uchtdorf, I agree that the importance of enjoying life where it's at is vital. And I feel incredibly blessed to have such a good one.