"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. " -Helen Keller

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

What makes you happy?

I know we've all seen those silly little memes that ask for a list of 10 things that make you happy or a list of things you do for yourself. Honestly, I've done a couple of them and they were and are fun. However, I didn't really sit down and think about the difference in what makes me happy now versus what made me happy years ago until I got invited to participate in the Happiness Blog project sponsored by The DivaCup®.

When I was much younger, I had a lot of delusions about what I wanted my life to be like and how I would feel if I didn't have those things. I really thought I would have a high powered career of some sort and I vehemently did NOT want to be a stay at home mom. I thought I would wither away if I was stuck at home with kids. I also had dreams of making a LOT of money and being married to someone who made a bunch of money too. I thought I needed a big house and the trappings that go along with it. I really believed I would be miserable if I was ever fat. Damn, I was delusional. I didn't stop to think about the little things that make me happy.

When I grew up and entered the real world. I discovered that the things I thought were important really didn't matter worth a damn. The man I fell in love with, the man who is my soulmate, wasn't wealthy and he never will be. My husband has dedicated his life to public service. He has been an EMT, a police officer, a fire fighter, and, now he runs a 911 center. My husband is a man of honor who treasures me and our family. That is far more important and makes me much happier than a ton of money. I know he will always be here for me and he bends over backwards to make the little things available. As for that high powered career I thought I wanted, that went by the wayside. My heart called out for me to stay home with the kids and it has been well worth it. Sure, we've had to scrimp and save and do without, but I have gained so much. I've discovered that as long as I have my family, a roof over my head, and food to put in our stomachs, there isn't much else I need to be happy. Once I shed the notions that I wanted the material trappings, I learned to take the time to enjoy the sublime bliss of a quiet day or a beautiful sunset or an "I love you mommy" from my sons. On most days, having the chance to curl up with a good book or my crafty stuff brings me more pleasure than a loud, raucous party. I've also learned to embrace and be happy with my inner geek. Hell, I've turned my inner geek loose and embrace the pleasure of sci-fi escapism and the joy of conquering some new computer skill. Creating beauty and seeing the pleasure on the gift recipient's face is so much better than spending a lot of money on an expensive gift that will be used and discarded.

Sure, I can completely enjoy things money can buy. I'd be lying if I said I didn't. And, I would never turn it down if I suddenly had a lot of money offered to me. But, I don't need that to make me genuinely happy.

So, have your ideas of happiness changed? Do you find yourself pining for more or do you find yourself reveling in simplicity? Tell me all about it.

Part of bringing happiness to your life is simplifying things so you can enjoy it to the fullest. What makes you happy? How has your view of happiness evolved over time? The DivaCup offers a simple, worry free, eco-solution to women worldwide every month. Not a tampon, not a pad, finally a better way! www.divacup.com The DivaCup is donating $100 to Parenthood For Me...a charity that assists people pursuing parenthood... in the honor of Kristin Cruz of Dragondreamer's Lair.


Alex said...

This is a beautiful post. I think it's amazing how our view of happiness definitely changes as we age. I used to be the same way - really wanted a high-powered career more than kids. Now I have that career, and I would give it up in a heartbeat for the chance to have kids. And I plan on giving it up, or at least most of it and going part-time, if I ever can have kids.

My happiness now comes from cuddles from my husband, and my dogs. And laughing with friends - I really like laughing!

Jo said...

I have to say that I am still very much caught up in materialism, but in a thrifty way. I love to bargain shop, perusing thrift stores and 90% off sales and making crafty teacher stuff. I shop A LOT, often to fill the void that being unhappy in my marriage or not having children creates for me. I get that what I'm doing is just a temporary band-aid, and I regularly dispose of things that I bought not long before, because their value just isn't there. I know it isn't healthy, it's just how I cope.

I have become a much happier person since we moved. Having my family around me, having that support system, has meant everything to me. I no longer feel alone. And, I've had to learn to curb (though far from eliminate) the shopping urge as we subsist on our savings and wait for our first paychecks in September.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to create a new image of what will make me happy in the long run. I have wanted to be a mom, working or otherwise, for as long as I can remember. And still, despite all the hurdles in front of me, I can't picture being happy without kids.

I am working on treasuring the small things. A cup of coffee first thing in the morning. A blog that makes me smile. A craft project that turns out perfectly. And, I'm getting there.

But true, feel it from my head to my toes happiness? I don't know if I'll experience that until I hold my child in my arms.

Thank you for this very thought-provoking post, my friend.


Meari said...

To be honest, I thought I'd have a family and be married. It didn't work out that way for me. I thought I wanted to be a secretary. I've gone way beyond that. I take pleasure in a quiet peaceful morning where the birds are singing, or the smell of fresh cut grass, or spending an afternoon crafting.

battynurse said...

Great post.
I know that I'm no where near where I thought I would be at 40 (granted I don't know if I ever imagined being 40) but outside of the recent stress I've realized that I'm still pretty happy with my life even though it's not what I had planned.