“I’m slowly starting to realize happiness is a journey and a choice. I think saying ‘a state of happiness’ diminishes all the work and appreciation it takes you to be truly happy. It’s almost impossible to be happy all the time, and when you’re experiencing disappointment, grief, and loss, it makes you appreciate moments of lightness and happiness that much more. Happiness, to me, is a collection of small moments, where you’re truly present. In the ocean, diving or surfing, there is nothing else you can focus on but being in the moment. Out on a starry Saipan winter night, there’s a significant feeling of contentment and happiness. To say one is happy all the time is unfair and not true, but collections of moments in the water and with friends are some of the times I’m happiest. As for purpose in my life, there are people who structure every moment of their day to achieve a feeling of sense and purpose. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people. I am pretty terrible at creating small habits. You can ask my mom, she’ll confirm. But I find purpose in engaging with others. I love interacting with students—teaching, mentoring, and coaching gives me so much joy (even when they are totally not listening), I absolutely love my role in the community here and love watching young adults take ownership and authority of their own lives and interests! Especially when it’s intersectional with soccer or marine biology.
“Creating a compelling future is the key. My mission in life is to make sure I am mentally and physically in love with the things I do. As a mom with two kids, I focus on making sure my children are well taken care of, nurtured/protected for their future, and spending more quality time with them. Working as a sales associate at a car dealership, I admire building relationships with clients and providing the best customer service. And I focus on healthy habits such as drinking more water, eating more vegetables and fruits, and doing other activities like running, yoga, and meditation.”
Car sales consultant
“Being a single parent to a preschooler and a teenager while my husband is away and having a full-time job in the time of a pandemic is tough. I can’t begin to describe the everyday struggles of keeping things together and trying to fit all the things one needs to do in one day while trying to protect us from COVID-19 at the same time. All week seems like a long marathon toward the weekend where we could all finally sleep in and not rush to school and work. I’m in no way an expert but having a solid emotional support system is key to keeping one’s mental and emotional health in check. When my husband left and got stuck off-island because of the pandemic, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but my mantra was to take it one day at a time. I realize that to keep caring for your loved ones, you can’t forget to take care of yourself too. I realize that it’s okay if you’re not able to finish everything on your to-do list for that day, that I am not a bad mother if I leave the dishes unwashed from time to time, that it’s alright not to fold that mountain of clothes immediately, that chores will not go away and it’s okay to sit down and take a deep breath or a lot of deep breaths for that matter. It’s also important to take that much-needed walk to the park or frolic in the beach the whole day on weekends and not do anything but enjoy the sun in your face, the saltwater in your skin, and the laughter of your kids as they play on the pristine white sand. Personally, Netflix helps a lot for me too. Watching movies forces me to sit still for a couple of hours, which is a much-needed respite after a long day. Also, instead of focusing on my struggles, I pray, I count my blessings and I give thanks. I feel blessed that my teenage son is now able to help out in a lot of ways, especially with his younger sibling. My children keep me going but, in times like these, one has to see what will help and what will work to keep yourself healthy physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.
“In my free time, I enjoy going to my Zumba class and dancing away all my stress and worries from that day. Especially now with the pandemic, it is harder to make plans with friends, but my dance group is always there and we all have a fun time swaying through the night at the Minachom Atdao. Once in a while, I also like to drink a glass or two of wine after dinner to relax.”
Kannat Tabla, Saipan