Wishing For Happiness: A Thousand Paper Cranes

I have learned that happiness is a fleeting thing. It is something we feel in the moment, when we eat a cookie or receive our diploma. It feels like we should strive for constant happiness and reshape our struggles into a hero’s narrative. When this inevetably falls apart, because let’s be real it is impossible to maintain, a sense of failure fills our minds. To be honest I struggle with this everyday. But a friend of mine recently said something that resonated with me: ‘life is a struggle, but it is my struggle’.

It makes me think of a story I read three years ago, when I went to Japan. Among other things I have visited Hiroshima. If you ever find yourself in Japan, visit Hiroshima. Peace park and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum are one of the most imposing places I have ever visited. Where ever you walk you see these paper cranes. In bunches and clusters they hang throughout the park and everywhere in the museum you find images of these origami creations.

The story I read is one that is very well known. It is the story of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. The book is written by Eleanor Coerr, and is loosely based on a story about the real Sadako. It tells the story of Sadako who lived in Hiroshima when Little Boy (the atomic bomb) was dropped on the city when she was two years old. Due to radiation she got leukemia. In order to wish for happiness and live trough her illness she started folding a thousand cranes, because your wish will be fulfilled when you finish folding a thousand cranes. In the book she doesn’t manage to do so, but according to her family she eventually folded around 1400 cranes.

When describing the folding of a thousand paper cranes the word ‘struggle’ seems appropriate. I like the imagery this story invokes. The story is incredibly sad, but all I can think of are these brightly coloured bunches of cranes, swaying in the wind. I like to think back on those bunches in a methaphorical sense: I don’t think my wish will come true if I actually fold a thousand origami cranes, but I do think that ‘a thousand’ different experiences (be it work realted, people related, or personal) will bring you closer to happiness and eventually to a much steadier feeling of fulfillment.

I am no where close to a thousand, but as every day passes I will keep folding, try to keep an eye open for my colourful paper crane of the day.

Anyways, Take it easy and talk to you soon!


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