Day 36 Question 36:
What is happiness?
I am currently in Barnes and Noble (yes I love this place) and I just had the most delicious wrap and I am now starting on different projects. An older couple (probably early 70’s) is sitting in comfy chairs across from me. The woman is doing stuff on her Ipad and the man is flipping through a magazine. They have been chatting back and forth about random things, travel plans, etc. What I noticed was that even during the times they weren’t talking the man had his arm stretched to grasp onto his wife’s hand and was rubbing the inside of her palm with his thumb. I have stated before my take on love and I really don’t think that many people get to experience what true love is. I get a vibe though that this couple is experiencing love-not experienced but experiencing. They seem to be the best of friends and just their actions show such an ease with each other. I know that I don’t know anything about their lives but from this small glance it would appear that they have achieved happiness in their lives. They are enjoying their journey and they are lucky to have found a companion to share the journey with.
I started to ponder the thought, concept, idea and feeling of happiness in this moment. Happiness is one of those words that does not have a set definition. Webster’s dictionary may disagree but I am going to stick to what I believe. Happiness is a feeling. It is a feeling that you can have in a mere moment or you can hold onto for hours and days and weeks and years. Happiness is something you choose. I think about my happiness. The last guy I dated and I were laying in my bed one night and we were just talking about all kinds of things. We started discussing happiness and he told me he didn’t want me to tell him that he made me happy. I was shocked and so confused. What he meant was…he wanted me to embrace my own happiness and realize that it is all mine. No one else can make you happy. You make yourself happy through your choices and your journey. I wanted to tell him a million times that he made me happy but then I realized that I needed to rephrase it. I would tell him that being with him made me feel happy. His actions and his words made me feel happy. It may seem like an odd concept to some but it makes perfect sense to me because in truth I own my happiness completely because being happy is my choice., no one else’s.
I have decided to start a personal list of those things that make me feel happiness. The list could be endless but I will spare my readers too many words. I want to do this so people are able to reflect on their own lives and think about what makes them happy. I want people to think that happiness really is a choice. Even in troubling times you are able to make yourself happy if that is what you really want. You can allow yourself to see the silver lining even if it seems to be hidden behind dark, black clouds. There is a lot of chaos and heartbreak that surrounds us in the world and I think that we need these things to think about sometimes. I try to keep an upbeat tone in my writings as much as I can so people are able to (hopefully) let their problems go for even a moment and reflect on their lives and see what they are blessed with. I, sometimes, take my life for granted and I need time to ground myself and think about what makes me happy and what I am thankful for. Happiness surrounds me every day.
1) Watching a sitcom and laughing until you have tears on your face
2) Watching an old couple (very obviously) in love
3) Tucking yourself into one of your favorite spots and getting lost in a book
4) Having an amazing conversation with a friend-feeling like this conversation has changed you and has made you see and understand the other person better.
5) Watching the curiosity and wonder in a child’s face.
6) A true and genuine hug from someone you really care about.
7) A delicious hot coffee on a cold winter day.
8) The most delicious piece of red velvet cake.
9) Having friends in your life that you can have serious moments with but can also laugh for hours with (I like to call this achieving hanger face-you can’t stop smiling and it looks like you have a hanger stuck in your mouth).
10) Seeing/Learning a different perspective
11) Loving yourself unconditionally.
12) Receiving an unexpected compliment that turns your whole day around.
13) People watching-Making up the stories of complete strangers lives.
14) Accomplishing a goal that you thought was impossible.
15) A summer day spent at the beach-soaking up the sun and playing in the ocean waves
16) Meeting someone new that you immediately feel comfortable with and know you want to spend more time with.
17) Embracing the things you love and running with them-mine would be writing and creating.
18) Paying a complete stranger a compliment because you want others to feel good.
19) Owning up to your mistakes, apologizing, accepting and moving forward
20) Trying something completely new and different-Going outside of your comfort zone.
21) Hanging with friends/family beside a campfire roasting marshmallows
22) Not having to rely on money-Finding plenty of things to do on a very limited budget and still have a blast.
23) Art/photography that moves you.
24) Listening to your favorite song/a song that you would swear was written for or about you.
25) Learning about something new that you never thought would interest you and actually really enjoying it.
26) Offering someone help when they need it. A man in a motorized cart behind me at Walmart was trying to unload his groceries onto the conveyor belt and I asked him if I could give him a hand. He couldn’t have been more thankful. Acts of kindness and paying it forward can go a really long way.
27) Have a child run and jump into your arms because they are so excited to see you.
I have to change gears for a minute because something so out of the blue and so surreal just happened. I was sitting at a table sipping on a Chai Frappe talking to a girl friend of mine. We had probably been sitting here for about an hour and a half. My friend was dating a guy and it just ended. We were discussing dating and its difficulties and what we are truly looking for now that we are getting older. You know, the usual girl talk…no no not man bashing…hahaha. Out of nowhere this man (I would guess him to be maybe mid 50’ or early 60’s-I am terrible at guessing age) came up to us and said, “Excuse me I don’t meant to interrupt but I just wanted to tell you something. When you meet a man, the most important thing to watch for is how is interacts with and treats his mother. This is what he knows and this is how he will treat you and expect to be treated.” He stayed there for about 15 minutes and talked to us. He was this kind man that I didn’t even know was listening to our conversation (he didn’t give me the impression at all that he was evesdropping-he just happened to overhear). The way he spoke was so caring and so genuine. A quality I do not encounter with many men these days. By the way he spoke I could tell he was passionate as well as compassionate. He spoke of his daughter that is a year younger than me and told us how she just sent him a very heart-felt email expressing what a wonderful man he was and how thankful she was that he always encouraged her to follow her dreams. He talked about relationships and how it is about give and take and for a relationship to be successful you must grow with the person you are with. He discussed how much he has changed as a person and how he has learned his wife’s habits and vice versa. I told him about my parents being married for 43 years and how I have seen this positive change in their relationship since moving down south after my dad retired. He told me that I was lucky to have what I did because most kids these days don’t have 2 parents that are still married that love each other. We covered a lot of ground in 15-20 minutes and it just seemed so surreal. It may sound so cheesy and corny but it was as if this man was just dropped in at that very moment to offer his insight. He spoke in a manner that was not at all condescending or judgmental. He offered his thoughts and offered compliments to both of us without even knowing us. It truly was one of those moments to hold onto. It seems like something so simple but it was something important. This was a moment of happiness for me because this complete stranger offered his words and it allowed me to see from another person’s vision. I wrote down my blog website on a piece of paper and handed it to him. I don’t know if he will ever read this but if he does, I want to thank him for taking the time to talk to us. Life is so fast-paced and we get wrapped up in so much that we sometimes don’t take the time to just reach out to people even if we might know that they need it. I think this guy sensed that his words could offer something to us and that they did.
For my readers, I know I am like a broken record, but these are the moments to cherish. Life can sometimes get us so caught up that we forget what is truly important. I ask of you to take a moment to look at what you have done lately. Have you helped someone? Have you paid someone an unexpected, genuine compliment? Have you lent your ear because you know someone needed it? I truly believe when you do these things that you will understand what true happiness is. Happiness is something we feel within but it comes from all of the things outside of us. Happiness can be found around every corner and one tiny thing can bring you an abundance of happiness. I hope you take the time to find your own happiness as well as become a part of helping others find theirs.