“I used to think I knew everything. I was a “smart person” who “got things done,” and because of that, the higher I climbed, the more I could look down and scoff at what seemed silly or simple, even religion.

But I realized something as I drove home that night: that I am neither better nor smarter, only luckier. And I should be ashamed of thinking I knew everything, because you can know the whole world and still feel lost in it. So many people are in pain-no matter how smart or accomplished-they cry, they yearn, they hurt. But instead of looking down on things, they look up, which is where I should have been looking, too. Because when the world quiets to the sound of your own breathing, we all want the same things: comfort, love, and a peaceful heart.”

― Mitch Albom, Have a Little Faith: a True Story


Unspoken Words, Unrequited Love

You tell yourself that you saw it coming, and yet you’re not spared by the numbing pain you feel when your fear becomes reality. As if splashed by ice cold water, your brain freezes for a second. When exactly did it happen? Was it because she has chinky eyes? Or was it because she loves cats? You ask yourself a thousand questions; seek answers you’d rather not hear. You’re dying to know, but afraid to find out.

And then you try to reminisce the moments you shared together, playing them at the back of your mind like Facebook’s lookback video. Just how long you’ve been in love with him, you can’t remember. The only thing you’re sure of is that it felt strong enough to last a lifetime; the kind of love that constantly pushes you to become better so as to be worthy of him; one that makes you want to prepare porridge when he’s down with fever, even if you don’t cook; the love that keeps you from dozing off on a classic black and white film he wanted you to see; and one you’d be willing to trade a year of your life, just to take away a second of his pain. But all your feelings must now be a thing of the past, safely tucked away in the deepest part of a cold abyss that is your heart.

You say “I’m happy you’re happy”. But truth be told, you’re lying. You can fake your smile but you can’t fake your feelings. Still, with sincerity and affection, you wish him happiness. And you hope, could only hope that she would love him more than you do. Believe in him when nobody else does. Support him unconditionally in his dreams and endeavors. Or scold him badly if he ever tries smoking or does something equally foolish. And remind him of his worth should he lose faith in himself. After all is said and done, you let go of your one hundred years of unrequited love, letting it fly like a white balloon in the night sky, slowly fading in the distance until forever lost in a sea of stars.

They say you only fall out of love if you’ve fallen for someone else. But hopeless romantic as you are, you won’t allow yourself to succumb to love on the rebound. So you look for diversions instead. Soon you find that it doesn’t make things any better. For what you feel is far from the pain you get from an intense workout, which just goes away after a few days of Advil and Salonpas.

You realize that in the end we were all just humans, drunk on the idea that love, only love, could heal our brokenness.

Algorithm for Finding Happiness

I’ve read this article earlier and I just want to share my thoughts on one of the points raised by the author and something I’d like to call my algorithm for finding happiness.

The author writes:

Decide what you want from life

To increase your satisfaction in life, you have to decide what you want from it. We often compare ourselves with others and think we want what they have, but everybody is different and just because something makes somebody else happy it doesn’t mean that it is right for you. Stop comparing yourself with others and feeling pressured to strive for goals that aren’t on your personal to-do list (such as starting a family, earning more money or buying your own home). Think about what you want and what would make you happy.

So apparently, to survive a quarter-life crisis, one must decide what it is that makes him/her happy. But this question has been boggling me for years – long enough for me to believe that I can’t really tell for certain unless I try to explore and experience different things, even those beyond my comfort zone. (Note that the operative word here is try.)

This is where my algorithm comes in.

If you know me, you’ll get a clear picture of my trial and error method in finding happiness. I made a code snippet just now to show you my algorithm. (Oops! Did I mention that I’m a programmer? But let’s not argue on, nor discuss technicalities here. Save it for later.)

Algorithm for Finding Happiness
Figure 1. Algorithm for Finding Happiness

If you’re not into programming (and can’t make sense of the above image), basically, it means that I try do things which I feel can bring me happiness (has potential happiness value, that is) and see for myself whether or not it actually does.

For instance, mountaineering has caught my interest long before and I finally decided to give it a go just recently. And because I loved and enjoyed the experience so much, I’m going to another climb this Sunday!

Needless to say, there are a lot of ways to find happiness out there. If you have a better algorithm or a different approach, let me know! We can discuss it over a cup of coffee or two. 😀



First Posted: June 5, 2012