“Life is like topography, Hobbes. There are summits of happiness and success, flat stretches of boring routine and valleys of frustration and failure.” ― Bill Watterson
Is happiness found only at the summit? Can we pick up some handfuls of it and put it in a pocket to carry with us down to the plains of routine, maybe save a few grains for the valleys of frustration and failure? Happiness itself has such a wide range, from quiet contentment to shrieking laughter, joy so pure it brings tears; it surely has its own topography.
Like a map stretched and pulled to reproduce the highs and lows of the surrounding area in a visitor’s center; what if we created one reflecting our lives? That 12,000 ft. elevation, what was that moment? How often do we dip below sea level? Are there vast plains or does your map look like the alps? Buttes of contentment; tall places that are wide and flat at the summit. Rivers carry us from the pinnacles to the passes. Roiling and boulder filled, cutting narrow walls along the way; broad and flat, muddied colors and shallow channels; sinuous and snaking or arrow straight waterways carry life events and emotions from edge to edge.
Understanding the contours of one’s life can bring insight when the map is overlaid with the topography we would choose. A little flatter here, not so deep and foreboding there; imagining forward to the profile of one’s future, can the topography change substantively? Perhaps carrying those little grains of happiness from the crowns of the mountains of our achievements down to the valleys of our failures will soften the landscape over time, take away some of the sharp edges and deep furrows.