An Interview With Myself: Bhutan

“What is Happiness?”

“Woah. That is quite a deep question.”

“Yes, yes it is.”

“Err, give me a moment to think about it because actually, even though I just spent 2 weeks in the land of Gross National Happiness, it’s hard to put “happiness” into words.”

“Sure, take your time.”

“So, do you want to hear how I used to think of happiness? Or the way I think and feel about happiness now?”

“Both.”

“Uhh… Okay so where do I start… I guess I could begin with how I felt a way to gain happiness…”

“Perfect.”

“I thought that someone gains happiness from other people, well at least I believed that the only way to gain happiness was from other things. It didn’t come from inside myself. I had to go and search for activities, people, something edible, or something like that for me to be happy. I did gain some happiness from those things, but it was kind of like fake happiness. Like going to a store and buying a ‘happiness in a bottle;’ it wasn’t genuine. It was similar to tricking myself into being ‘happy.’ And back then being happy was having the coolest clothing, having people look up to you, having people like you—basically having people put you on a pedestal. It was very materialistic. To be honest, it actually killed some of the real happiness inside of me. ‘Why?’ you ask? I always looked to others for acceptance and it made my self-esteem drop like the temperature comparison between Boston and Buenos Aires.”

“Anything else to add to that?”

“Understand that I was somewhat happy. I wasn’t a completely insecure teenage girl that was always looking for other’s approval. I had the moments where I was just like no. THIS is whom I am and I am not going to change for you or anyone else.”

(5 second pause in the recording)

“How do you feel about happiness now?”

“I have been slowly chipping at my new concept of happiness since about the middle of eighth grade. Bhutan was a rocket launcher into the notion. People there were content. Content. They were satisfied with their way of life. They were satisfied with themselves. They were just satisfied. And after that, I began to grow more content with the way I am. Of course, the insecurities that I acquired over the years, still remain, but I have learned to ignore them… A little more. I have my ideal happy Cami in my brain, written in my journal, something. And I will strive to be in that satisfied, content, happy state, with out losing the edge and craving to do more, to be better.”

“What is the ‘ideal happy Cami?”

“The ‘ideal happy Cami,” is the Cami that is ‘on cloud nine,’ and chasing cloud ten. Haha, I just learned the phrase ‘on cloud nine’ today. It means to be happy. I interpreted as just perfectly pleased in a moment. No worries, no troubles, no insecurities, no stress, no problems on my mind; just… happy. But you see, if I stayed on ‘cloud nine,’ I would never have any ambition or strive to be better. In Bhutan, most of the people that I came across didn’t go or want to go to college. They were simply content with their lives. But, in the culture that I grew up in, you always want to be better, to create a better life for you and your family, you always want more; and that was happiness. I want to combine these and then create that ‘Cami on cloud nine that’s chasing cloud ten.”

“Is there any experience in Bhutan that really stood out to you as, happiness?”

“I cannot say that one moment was the exact definition of happiness because, I believe that there is no such thing.”

“Huh?”

“Yeah, there is no moment that is just absolute happiness. Every moment, even a happy moment, has a bit of sadness, a bit of anger, a bit of jealousy, a bit of nerves, and you get the idea. This is because even if I lets say, am eating the most amazing piece of cake EVER. My mouth is the happiest it has ever been. But, I am a bit sad this moment will pass; a bit angry because I will have to eventually work off the fat from the cake; a bit jealous because I am jealous of the cake being so delicious; a bit nervous because maybe the second bite won’t be as good.”

“Let me change my question, what is the happiest moment, considering the other things, you have had during your time in Bhutan.”

“My happiest moment was also my saddest moment and my most favorite moment.”

(4 second pause)

“Yes, my happiest moment… I had stayed back a little to film my guide, Gimbo, for our groups’ video. I didn’t have anyone to walk down the mountain with so I jumbled down, step-by-step, happy as a clam. At one part of the pass, there is this beautiful view of the area below. I stopped and stared, absorbing the fact that I am in Bhutan, but I will be leaving in a few hours, maybe never to return. I know that I am sounding SO corny right now, but please endure with me because as cheesy as it sounds, I was extremely happy then. I thought back to the crazy, funny, and wild experiences that could be summed up into the word, ‘Bhutan.’ I thought back to everything that had happened. All the sounds, the clicks of a camera snapping away, the incredible silence that is a nice break from the craziness of a city. It was really just a moment of reflection, and I was just happy.”

“Do you miss it?”

“Yes.”

“Are you happy right now?”

“Yes.”

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