“When one door of happiness closes, another one opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us”.
I recently came across this quote by Helen Keller that gave me reason for pause. It made me contemplate whether life had become so complicated that we have raised the bar too high on how we measure happiness? When we finally do get what we want in life do we stop to savor the moment? Do we move right on to the next big thing? Do we ever slow down long enough to appreciate the little things that bring us happiness every day?
When I was growing up I loved the Peanuts’ song, “Happiness is………..”. I know it was a simpler time, but they were really on to something. They based happiness on uncomplicated principles like, “Two kinds of Ice cream”, “Finding a firefly” and “Tying a shoe for the very first time”.
One can also learn a thing or two from to the Vantrap family during “The Sound of Music.” Talk about setting a positive example; while escaping occupation, Maria counseled the children to focus on a “Few of their favorite things”! Again, she based happiness on simpler things like “Raindrops on roses” and “Whiskers on kittens”. She further instructed them about the power of positive thinking by prompting them that when “the dog bites” and the “bee stings” that if they simply remembered their favorite things then they won’t feel so bad.
These examples of course are not based on reality. They were not working toward their next big promotion, saving for their dream homes, dealing with work life balance issues or recovering from the recession. Nevertheless, the antidotes they offer may be just what we all need?
I decided to take their advice and create a list of my own to keep handy during challenging times. Just thinking about the my favorite things made me smile and lifted my spirits immediately. I suggest you make a list of your own.
Here are a few of my favorite things. Happiness is:
1. The first sip of coffee in the morning.
2. The first crisp fall morning that requires me to run back in and grab a sweater.
3. A clean new note book and any kind of new office supply.
4. A book that is so good that I lose all sense and time. When I turn the last page I am actually bereaved because I will miss the characters.
5. Drinking a bottle of wine that I have saved for many years that it is well worth the wait!
6. Sitting around my farm table with my whole family talking long after we have finished the last bites of dinner.
7. French fries, pizza and ice cream with mix- ins.
8. A great sale!
9. Boots, jackets and hand bags!
10. Getting an A in school.
11. Stretching past my comfort zone and learning a new skill.
12. Date night with my husband.
13. A great meal and cool new restaurant.
14. Walks with my girlfriends, long talks on the phone, and Sunday movie dates.
15. Helping anyone.
16. Time with my family (bears repeating).
Now I am not suggesting for one minute that you stop striving for greatness or that we should not set the bar high to reach our goals and ambitions; I am however suggesting that we take some time to enjoy and notice the things that bring us happiness along the way.
What is on the top of your list? I would love to know.