“[But] What sort of happiness is that?”

A classmate-friend today made an interesting – if not insensitive – remark just this afternoon about my apparently too excited sentiments about going home for good.

“Why don’t you just stay on over the summer, then go home?” 

“Why?”

“It’s not like there’s anything to do at home, it gets boring real fast.”

I laughed at his statement, taking it good-naturedly, though how ridiculous. How ridiculously far from the truth – not mine, at least. “Honestly, although it’s true location is important to me — I think I’m more about my company. That human touch, who I’m with. That’s what I’m about and I have that at home. Trust me, I’ve plenty to do when I’m home.”

“So you say. [But] You feel this way because you’ve no boyfriend here.”

Well. Thanks for pointing out the obvious, bud.

“Come on, what’s that got to do with a significant other?”

“You don’t have anyone, that’s why nowhere is interesting or fun.” 

Okay, that’s enough. Thanks, but no thanks.

“Hey. What’s my exhaustion and wanting to go home have to do with my having a significant other or not? Maybe it’ll be easier to travel in twos, that’s true, but my happiness, the things I feel — they’re not determined by needing to have someone by my side.” The air between us tensed suddenly and I noticed two of our friends diverted their attention to our conversation, so I decided to drop it. Pick your battles wisely; this one’s not worth it.

But I’ll be honest — until now, it gnaws on my inside. I wish I told him clearly that while maybe he’s right a significant other might make the pasture look greener and paths less lonely to traverse, the state of my being and happiness would be enhanced by the presence of a significant other – enhanced, not determined.

My happiness will probably multiply but as it is, I am content and grateful with my life. I’m happy with the decision I made and no, I didn’t choose to go home because I was dying of loneliness from not having a partner — I just, honest to goodness, want to go home to the people with whom I am my most authentic self, always.

Besides, if I determine my happiness on the presence of a significant other, I may well end up waiting for an entire lifetime, you know? …and then what? What kind of life would that be? What sort of happiness is that?

He was wrong. I wish I told him that straight out.

He doesn’t understand; love does not only exist in one form. It is not only felt and thus become real through romantic relationships alone. Its presence isn’t embedded in our respective one and only, instead it exists in the spirit and company of our loved ones — friends, family, pets, and yes, even self.

For the last six years, did he think I was not in love? How silly, because I was. No matter how I think about it, I always arrive at the same conclusion: I could not have fallen for anyone in the duration that I’ve been here because I was genuinely too busy falling in love with the places that I lived in and ventured out to, the different people I met and life itself. When these tire my soul, I found myself having to repair a different kind of love – that towards the self.

He was wrong.

I’m coming home as early as I can – though really, two years delayed as it is – because no matter how great the weather is, how comfortable life is here, how financially secure I could have been had I chosen to stay …all these aren’t love. They’re not the real thing, not even close. And I don’t know about you, but I want the real thing.

I’m grateful that I have it in abundance in a particular place — I’d be a fool to let it go.

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7 thoughts on ““[But] What sort of happiness is that?”

  1. As someone who has been married 6 years today, I love how you put this: “enhanced, not determined.” Damn straight that’s how it is. How it should be.

    Friend, you make me cry at this line: “For the last six years, did he think I was not in love? How silly, because I was. No matter how I think about it, I always arrive at the same conclusion: I could not have fallen for anyone in the duration that I’ve been here because I was genuinely too busy falling in love with the places that I lived in and ventured out to, the different people I met and life itself.”

    I’m sorry if all I can do is quote you back to yourself. But these are good words. I am proud of you, even if that person doesn’t know how wrong he is. His loss. Your gain.

    1. This guy is known to be blunt (some says it is a cultural difference thing… he is Chinese, but I think it is a mix of both culture and personality) so I’m not surprised he said it- but I didn’t expect him to actually turn this into my excuse, like putting words in my mouth. He apologized to me last night though (with the lengthiest text I’ve ever received haha) so all is good. We will all learn in our own ways, in due time :)

  2. Exactly. Enhanced, not determined. Because if you allow your significant other to determine your happiness, what kind of emotional rollercoaster are you setting yourself up for? And, really, how cheap would you be making your happiness, by putting it wholly in the existence of a significant other?

    So glad that you’ve got both feet on the ground on this matter, my dear. And, I’m glad he apologized.

  3. It’s been a crazy two months as a lot of things were piled up in head. But this ” enhanced not determined “. This cleared up most of what I was aimlessly thinking about. I’d like to talk to you more on this, if you wouldn’t mind. May I please email you?

  4. Loved it! Even if you didn’t tell him off then and there, you go your point across here. You should never argue with a fool. I applaud you.

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