I went for an invigorating run along the beach this morning, one of those runs that make you feel truly alive. The wind was fierce, whipping up the sand so it cut into my legs. The sun was out. And then it rained.
As I ran, I spotted a rainbow. And then a second rainbow above it. Double rainbow! It’s been a while since I’ve seen such a spectacle. The rainbow seemed to stretch from one end of the beach to the other. If I keep running, I thought, I could get to the end of it. And when I get there, maybe I’ll find a pot of gold.
Hang on a minute, I thought again. My pot of gold is right here, right now. In this moment. On this beach, with the sand against my legs, the wind in my hair and the rain on my back. This is my pot of gold.
I’ve always had a tendency to think happiness is over there. I wonder if you can relate to that?
I’ve had this tendency ever since I was a child.
Happiness was in my best friend’s home where her mum, dad, sister and dog lived altogether in apparent blissful harmony.
Happiness was in that pair of jeans with the white stripe down the side that I desperately wanted, until I got them and didn’t like them so much and wanted something else.
Happiness was in being blonde rather than dark.
Happiness was in being called Karen rather than Katherine (in infants’ school, I actually told my teachers I’d changed my name to Karen by deed poll, only I think I called it depol at the time. My school friend Karen, in my eyes, was slimmer, prettier and more popular, with luscious hair. I wanted to be her).
Happiness was in having someone else’s life.
Happiness was in ‘O’ levels and ‘A’ levels and other achievements.
Happiness was in someone else’s opinion of me, rather than in my opinion of myself.
Happiness was on the other side of the world – until I got there and wanted to move back to the other side of the world.
Happiness was always just out of my reach.
These days, I’m better at living in the moment and finding joy in today, but there’s still work to do. Just like on the beach this morning, my first thought is often that happiness is over there.
The good thing is that I know for sure that I don’t want to live like that anymore, always dreaming of how happy I’d be if I had this or that, or looked like this or that, or lived here or there. I want to live my life, rather than some imagined life. I want today’s life, not tomorrow’s life or the life I’ll create in the future.
How about you? Where’s your pot of gold? Are you chasing a rainbow? Or can you look down at your feet or close your eyes and see your pot of gold right here, right now?
I hope so.