Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Happiness

I came across an article in the Globe and Mail regarding "Happiness". One thing led to another and I ended up getting in touch with someone compiling a book of essays about what makes people happy. She invited me to submit my own essay. I'm not sure what will come of it but in case the book doesn't become a best seller I thought I would share my essay here.

My happiness depends upon my cycle. No, not THAT cycle….. my happiness cycle.

After much reflection I have determined what really makes me happy. I had the AHA moment. I realized nothing makes me happy. I realized everything makes me happy. What makes me happy today will not make me happy next week. My happiness cycle is a gentle ebb and flow of thoughts, feelings and reactions to life’s events determining the degree of my happiness.

My family makes me happy. My children have grown to be independent, successful young adults. I believe my biggest achievement was the day they all moved out to be on their own. Yet I miss them. I miss the days of phones ringing and being needed for rides and food and mom advice. Now I look forward to their texts, their phone calls and their visits. Their arrival back home makes me happy. I bask in their energy and their youthfulness. But then I begin to feel the shift. I start to tire of being the responsible one, the one who is expected to know the answers to their life questions, especially when they choose to do what they were going to do anyway. When the door shuts behind them as they leave, there is peace and quiet and I am happy again. But a few days go by and I yearn for their return.

My job makes me happy. My job makes me feel successful and respected. It is a reason to get out of bed in the morning. I have a purpose in life and a pay cheque to almost pay for my lifestyle. But after too many days in a row of everyone needing me and having to crawl out of bed with too little sleep, I yearn for retirement. The stress starts to wear at my body and mind. The holidays always seem to arrive just as I think I am about to break. Much needed time off allows me to unwind and relax, but before long I feel once again the pendulum begin to sway and I long to be back to work, back to being needed.

Our cottage makes me happy. The first time we arrive in the spring we are welcomed by smells of nature and the view of the overflowing lake. The broken pipes and mice droppings don’t dampen my happiness at all. Nothing is as perfect as the first trip to the cottage in spring. Our time there in the spring is short, snippets of time we grab on week-ends between long weeks of work. Then summer finally arrives and I spend endless weeks at our lakeside retreat. As two weeks becomes three and four, my love affair starts to wane. The slowness of the lake begins to bore and I yearn for the return of work and routines of the city. The pendulum begins to swing back, marking my happiness cycle.

So what makes me happy?

Everything, until it doesn’t.

Until it does again.


MWF Seeking BFF said...

I love this. I think it's so true, and similarly, you think one thing will make you happy -- until it does -- and then you realize that something else is missing and maybe THAT is the thing that will make you happy. I thought moving to live with my boyfriend, now husband, would make me happy. And then I did and realized I didnt have any best friends in my new city, and now I think having a BFF would make me happiest. So now I'm on that search....

Jacqueline Johns - Your Happy Life Mentor said...

I suggest you practice being present in the moment, rather than yearning for some non-present other thing. When you learn to be present to every moment of your life you will love every moment - and love your life - not just when the pendulum is in the right spot. When you are yearning you are missing the moment.

Live Life Happy!