upon a time, I met the King of Hellshire Beach.
off Wall Street, I found myself living in Kingston, Jamaica. My resume says that I was on a Fulbright
Grant, learning about public health. But
I’ll admit that I was on a personal journey, learning about happiness.
Brenden was a local child, playing on Hellshire Beach – a makeshift,
impoverished playground, just a stone’s throw from Kingston’s slums. He playfully called himself royalty, sporting
only a pair of tattered shorts and a giant, toothy smile. The beach was littered, the children were
unclothed and reggae music from different speakers clashed cacophonously – it
was no kingdom.
alongside him all afternoon, I realized – King Brenden was rich! The company he
kept, rather than worldly possessions, conveyed his wealth. His genuine laughter communicated his
fortune. Amidst the chaos, he had found
peace. I wanted this richness.
year in Jamaica was fleeting but its impact on me was not. I learned to not get caught up in who the
world asks me to be and instead chase my own happiness.
choose to be compassionate, to not watch the clock and to get lost in
conversation – even with nine-year old children.