Why Happiness matters? Do you worry about living long instead of living well? Remember that no one can decide how long he is going to live while everyone can decide how well.

Today I would like to share a beautiful story that touched me in many ways. It was in a book that was given to me by my friend Liliana. It was the first time I had read something of Jorge Bucay, an Argentinian author. I was in the plane reading this story and suddenly I started crying and I couldn’t stop anymore. My friends who were with me in the plane were laughing about me crying, as I have the fame to be quite emotional!

This is the story of a seeker

A seeker is someone who looks for something, but not necessarily someone who finds it.
“One day, the seeker felt he should go to the city of Kammir, so he left everything and started his trip. After two days of walking by the dusty roads, he spotted in the distance the city. Just before reaching the town, a hill that was at the right of the path caught his eye. It was a wonderful green hill with a lot of trees, birds and lovely flowers. A bronze door invited to enter.

He crossed the doorway and began walking slowly through the white stones as they were distributed randomly among the trees. On one of the stones, this inscription:
Abdul Tareg, lived 8 years, 6 months, 2 weeks and 3 days.
The seeker was a bit moved when he realised that the stone was not just a rock but a tombstone. A child so young was buried there.

The tombstones

Looking around the man realized that the next stone also had an inscription:
Yamir Kalib lived 5 years, 8 months and 3 weeks.
He was terribly shocked. This beautiful place was a graveyard and every rock, a tomb.

One by one, he began to read the headstones. All had similar inscriptions, a name and the exact lifetime of the deceased. But he was terrified when he discovered that the person who lived longer didn’t exceeded the 11 years. Overcome with a terrible pain, he sat and began to cry.

The caretaker

The caretaker of the cemetery passed by and came over. He looked the man crying in silence for a while and then asked him if he was crying for a family member. No, no family – replied the seeker. What happens with these people, and what terrible thing is there in this city?. Why are so many dead children buried here? What is the horrible curse on these people, which forced them to build a cemetery?

The old man smiled and said: You can calm down, there is no curse, what happens is that we have an old custom here. I shall tell it to you. When a young man reaches his fifteenth birthday his parents give him a small book as a present, like the one I have here, hanging from my neck. It is our tradition that from that moment onwards whenever we enjoy something intensely we open the book and write down on the left side what we have enjoyed and on the right side for how long.

The happiness book

Did he meet his girlfriend and fall in love with her? How long did that great passion last? A week? Two? Three weeks and a half? And later… the emotion of the first kiss…. How long did it last? The minute and a half of the kiss? Two days? A week? And the pregnancy and birth of the first son? And the weddings of your friends? And the most desired trip? And the reunion with the brother who returns from a far away land? And when you helped a friend or a neighbour and they gave you their gratitude? And the day your teacher congratulated you for a work well done? How long did you enjoy the pleasure from these situations?…Hours ¿ Days?…And thus we write down in the book each moment.

When someone dies it is our custom to to open his book and add up the time he enjoyed in order to write it upon his tombstone. Because for us that is the only real time lived.”

My dear friend Lucia got inspired for my birthday present and she bought for me a beautiful “happiness book”. Since then, when I experience joy in my life I write it there and when I don’t feel very good I read those pages with a smile.

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