The Cemetery of Happiness – The Importance of Little Things in Life
There once was a man who embarked on a self-discovery journey.
He started travelling the world looking for answers to his existencial questions about life.
One day, walking through the mountains, he spotted a little village in the distance.
Just a few meters before getting there, he noticed a little hill on the right hand side of the narrow, winding pathway he was walking through.
The greenery of the scenics was intoxicating. The place was circled by a beautiful wooden fence and it was full of trees, flowers and birds.
He couldn’t help but go through the little bronze door that gave access to that little piece of heaven on earth. He could use some rest and that place was the perfect location.
The man started walking amongst the little white stones, spread all over the hill next to the trees. He let his eyes look over the place and then he realized one of the stones had a name and a period of time engraved on it: 8 years, 9 months and 2 weeks.
He felt a deep sadness when discovering that it wasn’t just a stone, but a grave of a little kid who was buried there.
Looking around the place, the man observed that each and every one of those little white stones had similar incriptions. That wonderful place was actually a cemetery.
All of the stones had the name and the exact time the person had lived sculpted: 5 years, 2 months, 1 day… 9 years, 3 months, 1 week and 4 days…
He got overwhelmed when he realized that the longest period shown on those stones didn’t even reach 11 years and started crying out loud because he couldn’t handle the pain.
The cemetery caretaker was just passing by and, after watching him cry in silence, he approached the man and asked him if he was mourning a relative.
“No, no relatives – said the traveller – What’s wrong with this village? Is there any kind of curse on the children here? Why is everyone here dying at such young age?”
The old man smiled and responded:
“There’s no such thing as a curse, my friend. It’s just this old tradition we have in this town. Let me explain you.
Every time a young man or woman turns fifteen, we give them a notebook, like this one hanging from my neck. And from that moment on, every time you experience a moment of pure joy and happiness, you write down what was it and how long it lasted.
When you had your first kiss… How long it was? Did you fall in love? How much did that first love passion last? A week? Two? A month? A year? Your first travel abroad. The emotion of watching your first child for the first time. Your brother’s wedding. A spontaneous getaway with your friends. The birth of your first grandchild…
Every single moment which fills your soul with absolute and sincere happiness, you need to write it down on that notebook.
Then, when somebody dies, we add up all those joyful moments and, to us, that is the actual time you have really lived, and we engrave it on a white stone so that people can remember the amount of happiness their friends and relatives had in their lives.
How Long Have You Lived?
This tale is inspired by the fable of Jorge Bucay called El Buscador (The Seeker).
It encourages us to live fully and to look for happiness in the little things that happen every day around us.
Those moments of joy are the ones that count and they shape up who we really are.
Have you ever wondered how much time you have really lived?
And I’m not talking about the time you’ve been alive since you were born.
I mean… How much time have you actually felt alive?
If you were to put together all those extremely joyful moments of your life, how much time would they add up to?
Think about it.
Try to create more of those moments of real and absolute happiness in your live from now on, every day, and make every single moment count as it was the last one.
You just get one life, live it fully.