When you type 'happiness' into the book search on Amazon.com, there are 101 pages of books on the topic. When you enter it in Google, there are about 580,000,000 results. No doubt it's been something that humans have searched for, longed for, and worked for for centuries; no doubt they will continue their search. I've been thinking a lot lately about what makes a person's life a happy one. At this time of year, when it seems we put so much pressure on ourselves, I thought it would be good to think about reflection on what is good in our lives.
Here are some things [in no particular order] that I know make me happy...
My Daughter. Today, she said to me, "Mama, how about we just read books for the rest of the day?" [Is she MY daughter or what?] Watching her grow is the single greatest joy in my life. I taught in an elementary classroom for more than ten years. It was always so awesome watching children grow and transform before your eyes. When you knew that a child did not have a skill the minute, hour, or day before learning it from you, and you helped them to achieve and/or learn something new, it was special. I still get to enjoy this feeling. Something as simple as [today] her being able to pull her inside out sleeves out of her coat by herself brings me joy. I'm not going to lie, sometimes I think: I did that or I taught her that. I'm thankful to be there with her every day [or at least most days].
My Husband. What can I say? He's pretty awesome. He works hard. He takes great care of us. He remains patient with me--a feat in and of itself. He's a hands-on father in all the best ways, and he's not afraid to be silly and let loose.
Photography. And Learning About Photography. Okay, in all honesty, sometimes it's the most frustrating part of my life. I'm used to being pretty good at things. When I left my teaching job to stay home with Harper, I really didn't have much of a plan. Take care of Harper. Work at our store. I felt this constant creative pull toward photography. I wanted a little slice of life just for me. My husband [also known as the most supportive human on earth] encouraged me to pursue this very expensive and not very lucrative dream. I'm still on my journey, and I'm not even sure that I know my exact destination, but every day I feel myself inching closer.
Exercising. In a Non-Competitive Form. Yes. This is still me writing. I grew up around competitive people. And competing. Often. Every day. Know what I realized lately? I'm sick of competing. There's enough for everybody. I took up running this summer mostly due to my summer schedule not being conducive to attending classes at specific times and also because Harper could ride in the jogging stroller while I did it, hence not leaving my husband with one more burden during a long day at work. Know what I realized? I actually like running. By myself. I enjoy the thinking time. The accomplishment of making yourself do it and of actually having done it. Bettering your own personal time. How your body feels after you run. All of it.
Unplugging. I recently went to our family camp in Pennsylvania for a weekend with my family and friends. It's this great cabin back in the woods--four rooms, thirteen terrible television channels, no wi-fi or even cell service to be heard of, and a rotary phone that is still a party line. [Yes. They still exist.] The weekend was glorious. We talked. We played games. The kids learned how a rotary phone worked and called people just to say they used it. We enjoyed some tasty adult beverages. We laughed so hard we almost peed our pants. It was such an amazing time to disconnect from social media and work and life and an opportunity to connect to each other with no distractions. I highly recommend trying it.
Food. And Cooking for Others. Don't get me wrong, I hate cleaning up after myself cooking. Because I literally use every tool in my kitchen. [My hubs gets SO mad at me. Hubs: "Why do you need that knife? You already have a knife right here!" Me: "Yes, but that's not the right knife."] Cooking is part of my love language. I do it for my family and friends often. Come on over, I'll do it for you too.
Doing What I FEEL Like Doing. This is not what it sounds like. I have been talking about this with one of my friends. Sometimes my daughter just walks up to me and says, "I wuv you Momma." She doesn't think about it beforehand and assess whether or not it's the right time to share her feelings. She just says and does what she feels. I'm working to shut my brain off and follow my heart more. As adults, we often have a thought pop up such as: Hmmm. I haven't see ole what's their faces in a while. I should probably have them over for dinner tonight so that they don't think I don't like them even though what I want more than anything is to be hunkered into my house with my family today. See that, right there? I have done that most of my life. I have put others' needs above my own. Lately, I've been talking myself out of doing this quite so much. I need time to unwind. My family needs time to unwind.
Blogging. This may be the most shocking of all for me. I have never considered myself a writer. I've always considered myself a fairly private person. Now, I'm enjoying sharing my thoughts and feelings and life with you? Yes, I do. It was funny. This summer [as some of you who read regularly already know] I took some time off to reflect after taking a bunch of business courses. I was basically figuring out what I have shared with you in this post: What are the things that make me truly happy? What am I going to prioritize in my life? Blogging kept coming to the forefront.
Why, you may ask, am I telling you all of this? Well, to be honest, I'm not really sure. But I do know that sometimes we all need to remind ourselves of the best parts of our lives. Sometimes, when someone shares what's best about theirs, you think about how sweet yours is too.
You know what I love the MOST? When my readers share with me. Share what makes you happy in the comments below. if you enjoyed my post, you can follow my blog by dropping your name and email below.