Happiness is only real when shared : reflections at 27

Get ready for the irony. This post was intended for my 27th birthday reflection, and although I started its outline at that time I definitely am  not getting around to writing it until now as I type this, at a time when I have no other choice but to blog (because I left my flashdrive of work at home and I don’t want to leave this amazing coffee shop.) You’ll get it if you read all the way until the end.

In October of last year, one month before her 84th birthday, my grandmother passed away. She passed away on the day of the Indian New Year, a day of celebration and joy meant to be shared with family. It’s a day that emphasizes new beginnings and moving on. I guess in a way it was a new beginning for me. The thing is, that entire day a voice in my head had been telling me to call her, and I kept putting it off for what I thought were good reasons- lunch with a friend, curling my hair, getting dolled up for dinner, sitting by the firepit and watching the children do fireworks. I never did get around to calling her when I found out late that night- by that time I just thought I would call her tomorrow, even though it was morning in India where she was.

I’m not upset that I never said goodbye. I hate goodbyes. I am not upset that I missed the opportunity to tell her how much I loved her, but that I am upset I didn’t create the opportunity to tell her how much she means to me. I know that at some level she already knows this- but I think it would have meant the world to me to tell her, because she is one of the people in my life who had truly exemplified unconditional love. The best way I can think of to honor her memory is to be as strong a force in somebody else’s life as she was in mine. Of course, being a grandmother is a long time away for me- but what I can do in the here and now is to love as unconditionally as she did.

When a child is asked, who is your hero? Many times the answer is Batman, Superman, Batgirl or even Michaelangelo (the Turtle), but more often than not the answer is “mom.” My mom is definitely one of my heroes, as she too has been as influential as my grandmother. The people who touch the most lives aren’t the most talented or the most successful- they are those who imprint on people’s hearts and they also likely don’t have super powers other than an infinite amount of energy to boost their selflessness.

My mother always said that my sister and I are her everything. That concept has been very difficult for me to understand, as my “everything” up until now has been my freedom to use my time as I wish (see last year’s birthday post) and my resources to meet my own goals. However, as this year has gone on I think I’m truly becoming to realize happiness is only real when shared. 

I ended last year’s birthday post with a list of things affirming my goal-setting and positive thinking. This year I would like to end with a few “pearls of wisdom” reminders to myself about loving unconditionally and living selflessly:

1. Call your parents. Not for your enjoyment but for them, the people who made their whole life purpose to help you survive and lead a meaningful life. As Savage Garden says, “they did the best they knew how to do.”

2. Tell your sister you love her every once in a while, if not daily.

3. Make a big deal out of every day events– those little moments all add up.

ba and bhumi at mehendi

Sharing this with you in honor of my grandmother is my contribution to her legacy. The irony is that I intended to write it a long time ago and just now am getting around to it, like I had intended to call her. I’m just grateful to actually have this moment here and now, to literally be given the opportunity to share when I was totally going to do something else. Who knows what tomorrow brings. Here’s to another year of happiness; this year, it will be about more than my career, the chance to travel, and my achievements. This year, I am just grateful have and be with people who love unconditionally. Livehappy.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *