Maya got in her car, slammed the door and backed out of the driveway recklessly. 'Where do you think you're going!' her mother shouted from the front porch. 'I don't know' Maya replied hastily, 'and for once in my life you aren't going to give me the answer'. Her vision blurred as she looked out of the window, tears streaming down her face. 'What am I doing?' she asked herself. Her life seemed full of questions these days. Math equations, science problems, essay prompts and the ubiquitous 'what are you going to do with your life?'. The interrogation came from her parents, counselors, teachers and friends. They asked too much of her. She didn't know the answers. She didn't know what she wanted. She didn't know what kind of person she was. And she didn't know where on earth she was driving. Maya stopped the car abruptly. Where had her wandering mind caused her to go? She looked around at the unfamiliar landscape and saw nothing but trees, grass and a bright yellow billboard in the shape of an arrow reading 'What are you in pursuit of?'. It intrigued her. Maya started the car again and followed in the direction the sign pointed. Pretty soon she came to another sign, a large picture frame with a sunny blue sky in the background and a blank square in the middle that said, 'Insert your dream life here'. Maya closed her eyes and focused on the words inside the frame: dream life. What was she really in pursuit of? In 20 years, what was her life going to look like? The image of her future life as a teacher flashed before her eyes. Next came her dream of being the first female president. Pretty soon, her mind had wandered to the picture of herself as the head chef of one of New York's most famous restaurants. Then she had transformed into a loving mother of three boys. 'Well that was helpful' Maya groaned as she turned the car around and started heading back the way she came from. But as she pondered her visions more, she realized the one thing they all had in common: she was happy. In every single depiction of her future, Maya's wide grin had revealed the one truly important aspect of her future. From that moment on Maya knew that, in the end, the only thing that really mattered was if she was happy and satisfied with herself and with her life. Sure, hard work was essential to realizing her dreams, but unnecessary stress and toil over something she couldn't care less about was hardly what Maya needed. She headed back home and as she walked through the front door she answered her mother's question, 'I don't know where I'm going mom, but the one thing I do know is that wherever that is, I will be happy.' Maya knew the answer to the yellow billboard: she was in pursuit of happiness.
In Pursuit of Happiness
February 25, 2009