Tuesday, August 9, 2011

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be Happy

This morning, I read a Crack.com article on Happiness and why most of the ideas we have about it are wrong.  It completely reminded me that when I was little, if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer (if it wasn't a teacher or dancer or Daisy Duke) was that I wanted to be happy.

I think I was fortunate enough to grow out of that particular wish.  I was 12 when my standard wish on shooting stars went from, "I want to be happy." to either, "I wish for everything we need and some of what we want" or "Thank you."  Sometimes, there's not a thing I wish for, except to express gratitude for what I already have.

I remember my first boyfriend in college, a theatre major who was given the assignment to just observe people for a week.  He pointed out to me that I was the only person he saw who smiled pretty much all the time-- even when I was all by myself.  I've mentioned it before, but it bears noting again-- I frequently amuse me and I'm prone to random thoughts.

I have to admit, I consider this a blessing.

About a week ago, a friend on facebook posted to her blog that Craft Materials Are Not Groceries.  Besides being an excellent reminder to not hoard craft supplies and actually work on craft projects, she linked to The Happiness Project.  I spent hours perusing that site.  Some of the best advice is realizing that you have to accept what makes YOU happy, and not what you wish would make you happy.

Watching the birds eat at the bird feeder outside my living room window makes me happy.  Watching my cat watch those birds makes me happy.  Watching my dogs play with each other in the backyard makes me happy.  Watching my dogs play with my boys make me happy.  A really good meal I don't have to cook.  A really good meal I did.  Having clean hair.  Having warm feet.  Laughing-- about all sorts of things.  Reading, curled up with a good book.  Reading, curled up with my cat.  Reading out loud, curled up with my boys.  Learning something new.  Doing something I'm good at.  Learning something new that it turns out I'm going to be good at.  Watching my house plants grow and thrive.  Watching my outdoor plants grow and thrive.  Watching the wild flowers I didn't have a thing to do with grow and thrive.  Snuggling.  All of these things, and so many, many more, make me happy.

Now don't get me wrong.  I have bad days.  And even good days have bad moments.  Because happiness is not a constant thing.  It can't be.  Like all moods, it's passing.

But paying attention and appreciating the moments when it happens means that I'm grown up, and I'm blessed to be happy, thousands of times every day.

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