Experts say we are at our happiest not at the moment we achieve our goals but the moments before, when we are so close we can see a triumphant end but it is not in our grasps, yet. Holding a trophy high above our head is not as pleasing as when our fingertips were grasping at its edges.
Maybe that is what Thomas Jefferson was trying to say when he penned the Declaration of Independence, starting with our inalienable rights: Life, liberty and ….. Freedom from tyranny? To worship as we wish? No, it is our endearing entitlement to the pursuit of happiness. It was always a statement that struck me as odd. He knew we had no right to happiness but somehow he felt we had a right to attempt to attain it. Maybe, in that moment, when Jefferson touched pen to paper, he felt the excitement and joy of knowing they were about to do something extraordinary and happiness crafted those words.
I know now that the journey of an author, embraces that pursuit. Typing those first words on a page and the journey begins. When the book is finished there is a sigh of satisfaction but there is no publisher. A gleeful cheer when a publisher takes interest but a long time before you hold the book in your hand; and when you finally do hold your book you wonder who will buy it? Then, your cousin calls because she stayed up all night reading it. Another emails you to say she bought one for everyone in her family. A co-worker sends a picture of him holding your book. A friend from California asks you to sign it. And then, one day, a stranger you have never met shakes your hand and says he liked your book. It is then when you know; dancing on the fringes of success, however fleeting, is happiness.
S. Connell Vondrak
Author of No Evidence of a Crime