This is a speech that I did for the final round of a speaking competition organised by the SEA this semester.
Many people say that life is an adventure. They struggle, lose faith, lose respect, amass wealth, gain praise, lose values, lose their health and arrive at a destination, which they consider happiness. Their journey may not specially be in that order and they may not reach the same destination but they will meet those circumstances at any point in their life anyway.
If you look up the word ‘adventure’ in any dictionary, you will probably get a definition resembling this one: ‘an unusual or exciting activity, trip or experience, maybe involving some potential danger. Most of the time, people consider physical activities like mountain climbing, trekking, hiking, zip line riding, skydiving as adventurous. However, going abroad to study or work or travelling from one place to another or simply achieving your dreams and aspirations can also be categorized as adventurous.
Most people dream about achieving success, becoming rich and famous, which are relatively easier to achieve. They aspire to become doctors, models, actors, singers, mathematical technicians, or even the President of the United States. Well, I’ll have to admit the last one seems a bit difficult or even impossible to achieve. But some people make their dream or aspiration their adventure. Some people know what they want to be when they grow up and they are so passionate about their dream that it takes them very little time to accomplish it, and there are other people, like me who change their passion as if they are trying clothes on a shopping spree
As far as I can remember, I have always wanted to become a lawyer, I don’t know why really. I think that I wanted to side with the truth. I wanted to make this world a fair place to live in- A simple dream for a kid of 10. Then, as I became more mature, and as I started to understand the world better, I became bitter and cynical. I realized that the world is too corrupted and that I would not be able to live life as a lawyer. Then, I would dream of becoming a dancer and even a singer. My friends who are in the audience would think, ‘Yes, I know all about your singing, you have irritated us a lot with it.’ Then, when I was 12, I wanted to become a football player or soccer player. I would play with my friends and I found it really thrilling and exciting. Every match would give me adrenaline rush and I would love those moments on the field. But then, I realized that the life of professional athlete is short and unstable. Also, as a girl, I did not really have a future in soccer. And I would often hear about how I should pay more attention to my studies instead, especially from my mother, because my father was happy of me playing soccer. The practical side of me though listened to my mother and renounced my dream of becoming a professional athlete, though I did not quit playing football. I have also passed through a phrase where I wanted to write plays and act in them. It was just a hobby actually and I never thought of it as something I would like to do all my life. I was happy when I engaged in any of the activities that I did.
At the age of 14, you should already know what you want to do or become in life or at least you should have an idea. Anyway, that is what my country’s educational system says. I was clueless. I did not know what I wanted to become, but I knew that I was good at numbers, and again, my mother was always telling me how I should do accounting and economics, because finance is actually a prominent sector. I listened to her and took accounting, economics and mathematics as main subjects for my exams. And frankly speaking, I am not unhappy. Maybe sometimes, I have to work harder to achieve a higher grade or a better performance on my part, but I feel happy when I manage to overcome my shortcomings and achieve the results that I want. I am continuing with these subjects now because I have developed an interest in them. Many of you sitting in the audience and listening to me would probably think that my adventure was to find the sector I would want to work in, but actually, this is not my real adventure.
My adventure is to find happiness.
Some philosophers believe that ‘perfect happiness’ can be achieved by being moderate in our actions and by having good moral character and by possessing all virtues. Others believe that only ‘imperfect happiness’ can be attained on earth as it is temporary and that ‘perfect happiness’ is obtained only in a world free of evil, in short in the afterlife when you meet God.
Another school of thought suggests that the happiness that you get equals the struggle, pain and suffering that you go through while fulfilling your desires. It simply means that you have to work hard to be happy. It is like any other commodity you wish to have. If you want to buy a car and you don’t have the money to purchase it, you will have to work hard to earn money and buy it. You will have to struggle and sacrifice small things. But in the end, when you will finally be able to buy the car, you will feel content and happy.
Many people will find it weird that I am treating happiness, a feeling like an ordinary commodity. Some will find it amusing that we have to work to find happiness. Many people will say that happiness has to be found and we do not know where to look for it. Therefore, it is difficult. However, let us look at it in another way. It is easy to find happiness because you do not have to look for it. It is said that happiness lies in the small pleasures in life and this is very true. You just have to find happiness in the hard work that you have put to obtain a certain result. If you have not done well, then you know that you have not put in the required effort. You will try to find pleasure in the work to get what you want. So, you just have to find happiness in the path to satisfying your wishes and your desires.
Thus,Happiness is THE journey not the destination.