So – is happiness a long term event, for example, a relationship… were you live…. where you go to the gym…. your pets? Or is happiness as a result of a number of blink-and-you-miss-it moments?
I want to tell you about a single moment I experienced. The year was 2015. The place – Banff, Alberta, Canada… but my single moment actually starts to formulate when I was 13, in the year 1836. (I think it may have been 1994 – it was a very long time ago, I know that much). I was at school; the most awful place I have ever been. I’d even go as far as calling it the mostest horriblest (I know – I hated it that much that I momentarily forgot how to put together real words…). I became interested in Canada after discussing the country as part of a project in a Geography class, which lead me to go to the school library and research it myself. I distinctly remember looking at a picture of Lake Louise, and even as a pubescent teen, I found it amazing. I returned to the library over the coming months to read about the country, look at pictures (in a world before interwebnets) and watched programmes such as Michael Moores TV Nation, which regularly featured Canadian ways of life, as well as Due South.
Fast forward (insert appropriate fast forward noises here…).
2013. I shattered my elbow (WOO HOO!). Broken radial head as a result of poor grounds maintenance by a nameless organisation (and that it not libellous – it went through court and they were found at fault… but i’ll talk more about that in a future post).
3 years after the accident, I was awarded a court settlement. What should I get? A new car? A gold watch? Put it in the stock market? Train to become a magician? Have a statue made in my image? (I too could have looked as good as Ronaldo in his effigy). Buy my body weight in marshmallow? No (well… I did get a car out of it too, but…), I paid for a 2 week trip to Canada for me and my man. A dream location I had wanted to go to for over 20 years was now a reality. (Insert smiley face…)
We got to Calgary Airport, and I had to keep reminding myself of where I was. I was shocked to find that not everyone was a member of the Canadian mounted police, and plaid was not a pre-requisite. Onwards to our accommodation, a beautiful hotel nestled in the bosom of the Rockies. I felt at home.
We ventured off to the stunning town of Banff, and just kept walking around – as tourists do – going ‘ooh!’ and ‘aah!’, and justifiably so. Off we toddled to the Fairmont hotel, which although beautiful and majestic, does look a little like the Addams Family will greet you at the door. After a coffee, served by the loveliest of waiting staff (I constantly felt like I needed to hug everyone we met along our way. Canadians are the best people on the planet. Even better than Eddie Izzard. He is hilarious AND does charity work. I KNOW!).
We went for a walk around the grounds of the hotel, and there it was. There. It. Was. One of the few views I have seen in my life that made me stop and well up. Even though nothing was being said. Even though there was no noise. There was no event. Time stood still for that moment. Because of the day and age we live in, it is impossible to not reach for the smart phone to capture that view. Capture that moment. And capture it I did…
For some people, a moment of happiness may be finding a handbag in a sale. Some may find that moment in the birth of a child. Some may find that moment in a new car. For me… my stand out moment was trees. Meandering river. Dominating mountains. Dramatic clouds. The moment that time stood still. The moment that I was shrouded and engulfed in happiness.
…and I got to visit the view that I had dreamt about since I was 13, from looking at pictures in the school library…
Canada is now very much part of a future plan. we are submitting our applications to move to Alberta. We are expecting this to take a number of years, but this makes me excited. Nervous. Slightly apprehensive. But above all else – very happy