Finding Joy

“Comparison is the thief of joy”. We have all heard the saying before.
Wether seeing it on a motivational poster in a classroom, or having someone
tell it to us; it’s well known. I have heard it many times before with a
passing ear. For maybe two minutes it would have an impact but then I would
slip back into out habits of comparing myself. But something has changed in
me, and I no longer do that.

During my first week with my host family I was sitting on the couch looking
through Instagram. I saw photos of my friends from high school at college.
Most of them were the classic college shots: standing in the dorm hallway,
the roommate shot, on the quad. Looking at these photos I felt a small pain
in my stomach. I started feeling this odd sense of regret. The same feeling
I had when I was still home and all my friends were at school; regret. I
was taken back to the moments where I first told people about GCY at school
and it often it was followed by a “why?”, from a classmate. In my heart I
knew I made the right choice, but there are moments of doubt and sadness.
At that point everything was still so new, I was still in shock of where I
was. The new sounds, people, and place. It felt all too new. I fell into
the hole I have been in my whole life, the hole of comparison.

As the weeks of being gone have progressed I have slowly dug myself out of
the hole. Step by step I have found the small things that make me happy.
The reasons that I chose to be here. To take the leap of faith and no
longer go with the status quo.

My third week here I felt myself slipping back into the whole. I talked to
my friends back at home, hearing all of their stories made me start to
question again. I often do it, I second guess myself. I had to start
digging myself out again. I reminded myself about the sound of the birds in
the morning, the constant barking of dogs, the sounds of the ocean. All the
small things that make me happy about being here, and thus the digging

Today I was swinging on the swings with two kids giggling next to me, and I
couldn’t help but smile. I looked over toward the sweeping landscape of the
fog coming in over the mountains of Forianopolis, and I smiled.

Later that day walking up the road on the tiny dirt path that is the
sidewalk along the main road I just looked around me. I smelled the fresh
rain on the grass, the art on the walls, and the people around me. I felt
at ease. And as I turned the corner to walk up my street to go home for the
first time in a long time I just walked; one foot in front of the other. I
payed no attention to the regrets I may have, or to what others are doing.
I was simply there, walking towards my happy green house with a smile on my
face. I am finally able to live without comparison. I am able to just be
present, and happy.