When and/or where were you perfectly happy?

/ 12 March 2010

Like most of the remaining possible senior journal questions there are too many potential answers. But seeing as how this is the final senior journal I’m required to write (the 30th) I really had no choice but to choose one with many answers. On top of that I wanted to challenge myself to answer a question that directly goes against the grain of how I (and the rest of my extended family) are feeling at the moment given that my great-grandmother is at what seems a bit like the brink of death. So we’ll see how much I can answer this. I guess that I should start with saying that there are only two places at the moment where I feel like I can be perfectly happy. Those are the two places that currently feel solidly like home. The first is where I truly do live, in Saint Paul, MN. Not just my house, but also the two other primary communities separate in which I’m a fairly active member: Avalon and our church faith formation group. Between these three major components is built my primary “home” and place in which I live. The second place is across the planet, Vienna, Austria (Wien, Österreich im Deutsch). More specifically my great-grandmother’s house and Grinzing, the neighborhood in which she lives. Not unlike my dad, her house has been the most constant “home” and one other place in which I feel truly safe. As my dad was one of the closest grandchildren of Oma my brother and I remain the closest great-grandchildren of Oma’s in how I see it. That’s of course a part of what makes all of what we’ve been going through this week so much harder, but also the solid truth. Though I only remember two of them, I’ve lived in three places throughout these nearly 18 years of my life: Beverly, MA, Boston, MA, and here in Saint Paul, MN. Over all these years Vienna has in many ways been the constant home, even while I really live in the United States. With that stated I’d have to say that the idea of being “perfectly happy” is an odd concept. Just like us as human beings can never be perfect (in both the religious and secular forms of that idea) any one of us can never truly be perfectly happy. An eternal and subconscious goal is to reach that point, but we never get there. Some, including in rare cases myself, can say that birthdays or other holidays are this point, but really that isn’t the case. So, in my mind as I see it today, there hasn’t been anytime in memory when I was perfectly happy. I’ve been happy a lot of the time, but being perfectly happy I haven’t ever been. There are even times recently when I know I’ve been the entire opposite, but those I won’t get into here.