HAPPY new year.

Happy new year. 2013, I’m glad that you’re here!

We’ve just had an amazing honeymoon in Bali, and we’re on our way back home. I’m writing this from a long layover (13 hours) in the Dubai airport.

Ringing in the new year, we were en route from Singapore to Dubai. This was the best flight ever – it was so empty, both Tobias and I had four seats all to ourselves, so we could lay down across the seats and probably the best sleep we’ve ever had on an airplane. At midnight, one of the flight attendants’ voices came over the loudspeaker, announcing that she would be starting a countdown to help celebrate the new year. And then, ten seconds later, it was 2013. Tobias and I kissed and wished each other a happy new year before going back to our seats to sleep some more.

Happy new year. The perfect start of my one little word for 2013: happy.

The one little word project was started by Ali Edwards and is all about choosing a word as sort of a motto for the year. A word to focus on. A word that encompasses all that you want in the coming year. One of my favorite bloggers, Elise, has been doing this for a few years now and her post about her word for this year finally inspired me to do the project for myself in 2013.

My one little word came to me like this.

While we were in Bali, we stumbled upon a Hindu cremation ceremony. Traffic was stopped becouse of a big procession in the street, so we parked our motorcycle and just followed them to see what was going on. When we got there, I had the privilege of talking to the priest’s son. He explained to me about the traditions of the ceremony, and was very welcoming to me. (Tobias took pictures the whole time, and I just talked to this guy.)

The one thing that struck me the most about the whole thing was the rather jovial atmosphere, very much unlike funerals I have been to before. I commented on this to my host, that people here seemed more happy than sad. He said that while of course people who were close to them are a little sad, it is important not to be too sad at cremation ceremonies because any very sad feelings can keep the spirit of the person who died from being released and freeing itself from the physical realm. And while I don’t really believe in reincarnation as the Hindus do, it’s an interesting idea. To that effect, he said something that stuck with me: “Happiness is heaven.”

That certainly proved to be food for thought, and I haven’t been able to get that quote out of my head. When I read Elise’s post, I asked myself, “What do I want this year?” And then, happiness is heaven.

The idea of happiness as something you can choose has intrigued me for a while now. (Here: Mara on A Blog About Love writes a lot about choosing happiness.) Last year, I read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. I plan on rereading it again now. I have a feeling that this year will bring a lot of things to be happy about. And I have seen that when you think about something enough, it becomes very present in the way that you interpret life, the way that you see things day to day.

So as I was thinking about what to choose for my one little word, the Hindu priest’s son’s words kept coming back to me. Happiness is heaven. And then, the change of the new year. Happy new year, people keep saying.

Yes. Happy. Exactly. That’s my word.

Choosing a word like that is obviously a bit intimidating. While I am sure there will be lots of happy moments this year, choosing such a word feels almost like I’m inviting a challenge. That I will really be tested. That there will be some times where it will be extremely difficult to be happy. That’s the way life goes. But I believe there is something to say for choosing happiness and letting that goal shape your thoughts and interactions with people. Recognizing the things I have to be happy about.

And so, 2013, bring it on. Happy new year.

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