The Spark

This was the happiest day of my life:

September 5, 2013
Not the day I graduated from high school or community college. Not the day I adopted my dog, Izzie, or met my husband. Not the day I was married.

And I'll tell you why.

Bend, Oregon Deschutes River

On this day I broke free of the restrictions I had placed on myself. On this day I took back the power I had given away to everyone in my life. Power they did not ask for, but which I eagerly gave. Somewhere along my timeline I started caring too much about what other people thought of me. And I grew increasingly dependent on their support and interaction. I had adopted the mantra that if no one else was interested then I shouldn't do it; whatever "it" was. I grew doubtful, bitter, caged.

I let my husband's "No's" become my "No's." His lack of interest to stop me from satisfying my curiosity, my keen need for adventure, my lust for action. Not because he asked me to, but because I felt a need to have him by my side as I conquered all these adventures I had swirling in my head.

Then one day the "No's" became one too many and I started to hate the word. I bucked against it like a teenage rebellion. Why not yes? Why not just go by myself? Why not just do something for the sake of doing something because it will make me happy? Because it will feed my soul? 

So when my husband had a conference in Bend, Oregon and told me he wasn't interested in white water rafting, I refused to let his "No" become my "No." Instead, I scheduled my trip and showed up to the meeting spot. By myself. I met the two other ladies (who were a blast!) who would be joining me on the trip. By myself. And I rode down that river with strangers. By myself. 

And for once, I didn't think about my posture, my smile, my body display to the camera. I didn't care about posting the photos where I had a double chin, because this was real. This was life. This was me in action and critics be damned if they think they can dull the sunshine this day has brought into my life. I did it for me, not them. And that is a victory unto itself.

Never has there been a photo taken of me that has displayed a more genuine, unguarded, triumphant smile than the one above. This is what pure joy looks like. Freedom. Liberation. Power. 

This is the happiest day of my life because I know that every fearless decision I have made in the two years since has been born out of the fearlessness of that day. 

To others they may just be class 3 rapids, but to me it was the spark that lit my torch.

When was the happiest day of your life?