I recently saw a documentary on Happiness. In it, they profiled a man living in a third world country who worked as a factory worker. His pay was barely enough to provide shelter in a tent city for his family and just enough food to sustain his family when supplemented by the items pilfered from the local trash pile. And yet, he was genuinely happy – he was happy because he had a stable job; he was happy because his family had shelter and food; he was happy because everyone was healthy and safe; he was happy because to him, his life had meaning.
It’s really easy to get caught up in the “unfairness” of the hand that life has dealt you. Where I live, there is a prevailing sentiment of “what am I doing wrong…?” when you look at others who seem to have everything, and appear to be more successful than you in life. But turn inward and you realize that those (superficial) things really don’t matter and that you, in fact, are quite lucky to have what you have.
So, what is happiness? It’s definitely not an expensive car (besides, I am a terrible driver), a big house (too much to clean), or shiny items to adorn my wrists, neck and ears (too much to worry about losing). To me, happiness is represented in the things that give me inner peace and satisfaction. To me, happiness is:
… children who have given me more joy and purpose in life than I could ever have imagined. Through them, I am experiencing all things bright and beautiful that life and Mother Nature has to offer.
… the best girlfriends that a girl can ask for – the ones with whom you go country line dancing in Danbury (yes, in Connecticut!) on a Friday night, and the ones who make me giggle and laugh over coffee, corned beef hash and scrambled eggs on an early Sunday morning. These ladies are my role models in many aspects of life (not just motherhood), and they keep me grounded.
… the music that makes my soul sing, and keeps my smile shining bright. Through it, my children see my inner joy and peace.
… the early morning solitude when I can drink a hot cup of coffee in silence, lace up my shoes and go for a run.
… (even though he might not always believe me, especially when I’m nagging him about something), a husband who fills the gaps that I left behind or the ones that were created when I became a mom.
Through all of this, I have come to realize that I am also truly grateful for everything that has been given to me; the opportunities that I have been granted in life for which others may have to struggle simply because of where I was born or when I grew up. Life is too short to fight about things that are petty or that you think are unfair, or to desire the things that don’t really matter. If you look inwards at the things that have given you meaning and acknowledge the opportunities that you have been given, then you may realize that life is pretty danged good.