Whenever my mind is going mad I come back to this. A dream. Not the type where you fly with the birds or become that famous movie star. Mine is actually quite simple. Or maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s the dream that everyone can reach, but never stay with. It’s the dream that we tell ourselves we can have, we try to have, but never do.
Happiness. Everyone’s form is different but I’ll tell you mine. It always comes when all eyes are closed and my mind drifts up into my own, personal utopia….
My knees and hands drop down on the rocks, my poles clamoring down with me. The air is sharp; I cannot smell anything. My muscles are quivering and it sounds like there is a little drumming band performing in my ears. I don’t notice my tears until I look up to see a blurry Sherpa helping a woman place a prayer flag on the rusting post. Quickly, I stand up and wipe my tears away. Reaching behind me and into my backpack, I pull out a thick, bright yellow prayer flag. I turn to hand it to Tashi, my six-foot-five tall Sherpa, and he places it on the very top of the post. We exchange a smile and he comes to stand next to me. I stand there admiring absolutely everything. The sky looks like water and the peak of Mount Everest towers as a shimmering jewel. I rest my hand on what looks like a metal road sign reading, “Base Camp!” Tashi stands with me in the next minutes, also appreciating this feeling. I know he’s made this trip a thousand times; heck, he’s even made it to the top! But he’s been with me and somehow vicariously understands how I feel. As I try to take in everything, I can’t help but notice how my yellow prayer flag sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s not tattered and ancient-looking like the rest of them. But it’s okay because I don’t care. Even if my prayer flag will always be conspicuous, the only thought I’ll give was that it was mighty strong.
All of a sudden my prayer flag is growing bigger and bigger. It eventually consumes me and I’m transported into my own kitchen. It’s very ragged and bare. Everything is made of this dark brown wood. I know, not very practical. I look around and am shocked when I turn to see both my parents sitting on wooden stools behind me. I ask them what they’re doing and come to notice how uncanny their eyes appear. My mother’s brown eyes and my father’s green eyes seem blank, almost possessed. I feel like I am in that type of sci-fi movie when they create that “perfect society” where everything is bleach white, everything is clean, but everyone is unconsciously miserable. Yes, that is what I got from their look. Anyways, I start to wave my hand in front of their eyes hoping for some signal of life. They both blink and start to smile. I laugh at them and ask, “What was wrong with you two?”
My mother, keeping her smile on, says, “Oh, Karina, absolutely nothing! You won’t believe this, but…here, read it.” She shoves a letter into my hands and I frantically open it, wanting to know what’s happening here. The letter is already ripped open so I reach inside and pull out a piece of paper. I see the letterhead which reads Brown University and I read the first sentence: “Congratulations!” That’s all I need to know. Wow. Shock and relief ripples through my body. A smile grows on my face and is stationed there for the rest of this day.
Time absently flew by. In this dream I run on my timeline from midday to eight at night. I am at a surprise party which has been embellished as if it was my wedding party. It’s crazy! A white tent, violins playing, a makeshift dance floor, hundreds of people, a view of the Pacific…. I walk outside the tent past some swaying middle-aged click, each person holding two glasses of champagne. I just smile and keep walking. Finding a park bench facing towards the ocean I sit down. Soon I’m covered by a blanket of darkness. Everything is silent making my mind that much louder. Have you ever been swept up by emotions that you have no idea where they are coming from and have no control over? Well that is me. I’m overcome by a sort of sweet sadness. Tears flow, but I don’t know if they are sad or happy.
I’m running on my timeline again. I stop at midnight. The bench now feels like my home. The moon is out, no sign of the party or anyone looking for me.
Snap. Snap, snap. Surprisingly I am calm as I turn to find the source of the sounds. I gasp seeing a someone’s figure sharply outlined in the moonlight. A wave of familiarity hits me and I’m crying. I mean these are a shower of tears that you’d see in a cartoon. But, trust me, these are happy tears. It was Tashi.
We embrace each other for so long that I have to let go or I’ll be suffocated by his thick, tan jacket. I look him in the eye and I don’t have to say anything. Our eyes can have a conversation. We know exactly what the other one is thinking. For hours we sit on the bench, hand in hand, and talk. About absolutely everything and absolutely nothing. Whatever it is he takes me back to that feeling of freedom when I was standing on the rocks underneath the tallest peak in the world. I felt…the best. A combination of euphoria and heaven and joy and bliss. It was true happiness. I want to stay here with Tashi forever. Yes, it’s that type of feeling.
Now I’m leaping. I mean I’m hurdling. I’m racing through time at warp speed. I abruptly stop on my timeline, but now I’m looking at my life. Through a window I’m seeing myself exactly three years later.
I’m walking along this ledge with sharp rocks sticking out from the path. If I fall, I’m over. I stop walking and look up. It’s all green. Everything. The mountains across the valley tower over me. I round the corner of this ledge and see Tashi in his tan jacket ushering me forward. My insides smile when I see him. I carefully gallop forwards and walk alongside him. When we round the next corner my insides are jumping for joy. As soon as I see the gigantic staircases of stone and grass I cry. Yes, I know, again. But there should never be a limit to happy tears. Then, Tashi and I share a glance, smile, and race up to see the llamas. Ah, Machu Picchu, the Old Mountain and the old dream that came true…
…that was it. That was my high-speed and bizarre recurring dream in a nutshell. You normally wake up and forget your dream, but not this one. Because this one made me think. The first time this was dreamt, I laid with my eyes closed in bed hoping to fall back asleep and pick up where I left off. The second time, I laid in bed just thinking about it. And now, it’s fallen into a frequent daydream. The time I’ve put into pondering this dream is crazy. Literally and metaphorically this dream about my journey towards happiness is telling. I’ve always searched for positive affirmation in life through grades or a status in order to fill my void of happiness. What I never realized was that my way of thinking was the creator of that void. In other words, your happiness is a slave to your thoughts. This dream translates that breaking the shackles of society’s approval will allow you to find your idea of true happiness. Whether it be starting a family, or maybe switching your career to be an influencer, or perhaps skipping college to hike around the world with a Sherpa….