This week, I’ve found myself wrestling with some thoughts about how I use the word “happy”. It means different things to different people. For some, it’s the general vibe they give off every day, as they walk around with smiles on their faces and radiate positivity – “they are a happy person!” For others, it may be a loaded term, as it is more like a goal they can achieve – the pursuit of happiness, if you will.
Years ago, I would have fallen into the camp of people who were in the pursuit of happiness. I thought I could buy my happiness, which is why I filled my apartment with brand new furniture (that I paid for with credit) and financed a brand new car. I also thought I could drink my way to happiness. I’m grateful it didn’t take too many years for me to see these were only temporary solutions to bigger problems.
As you know, the past couple of months have been a little tough, and it has taken a toll on my mental health. I actually feel more self-aware than ever, right now, and feel like I have a much better handle on my anxiety than I did a few weeks ago. But when a friend asked if I was happy, I knew I had to be honest: not right now, but sometimes! I feel happy at least a few times every day. :)
I feel happy when I get text messages and phone calls from friends and family. I feel happy when I laugh. I feel happy when I get into a body of water. I feel happy when I walk on a trail and pay attention to how the ground feels beneath the soles of my shoes. I feel happy when I challenge myself on a hike and am surprised to discover how well my hip is doing. And I feel really happy when I get to the viewpoint.
I could continue on with this list, but the point is that I’m learning happiness isn’t something you can pursue – it’s the feeling of contentment in any given moment. It’s never going to be all good. Bad things happen, and bad feelings come along for the ride. But the happy moments… they are special, and they are worth remembering. Here are a few blogs written by online friends who feel the same. <3
- Sarah’s ideas for how to feel good (or any other way you want to feel) are fantastic.
- I’m a big believer in the power of keeping a gratitude journal. If you need some ideas for what to write, as you start yours, here is a list of 50 things I pulled from mine last year.
“Having it all” isn’t about the monumental life events — the promotion, the wedding, the mortgage — but, instead, the moments. The pizza shared with your best friend, the laughter on the phone with your mum, the song sung at the top of your lungs. That’s the stuff that’s truly worth chasing and having. That’s all any of us ever truly have. – Bianca Bass
- Good news: happiness doesn’t exist.
- David’s post about the missing ingredient to happiness is one I have bookmarked and read a few times this month. It is beautiful and offers a great exercise at the end.
Slow living is for connection, for community. For looking a crossing guard in the eye when we thank them. For making the time to help the woman in aisle 9 find the olives. For having the space in our day to welcome an impromptu visit from neighbors, for having the space in our mind to open the door wide even though the hallway’s a mess. – Erin Loechner