“Perfect happiness is a beautiful sunset, the giggle of a grandchild, the first snowfall. It’s the little things that make happy moments, not the grand events. Joy comes in sips, not gulps.” – Sharon Draper
“My mother is a big believer in being responsible for your own happiness. She always talked about finding joy in small moments and insisted that we stop and take in the beauty of an ordinary day.” – Jennifer Garner
I have a goal to declutter my life and that includes deleting 100 emails a day. The other day, I spent two hours deleting emails. I felt no satisfaction from doing this task. My husband Ken and I had decided to have a fire outside in our fire pit later that evening. As I sat deleting emails, I was looking forward to getting outside. I had a headache and knew I’d been on the computer too long, but still, I looked at every email before deleting it.
As soon as it got dark, Ken built a fire, and we sat by it with a glass of wine. We talked about the adjustments we’ve made this past year. He is newly retired, we became empty-nesters, and our dog died. But we have been making the best of things. He has been painting rooms in our house. We have been seeking out live music. We have planned some trips. Sitting by the fire and chatting was far more satisfying than deleting emails. I felt relaxed, and my headache disappeared. I felt happy.
The next day, I thought about my goal to delete 100 emails a day. Was I willing to trade another two hours of my life to clear out emails? I wasn’t. Instead I deleted a bunch of emails in a mass delete. In the future, I will be more particular when subscribing to email lists. Frittering away too much time on the computer is frittering away part of my life. I’d rather enjoy life while I can.
I learned that lesson years ago from a coworker, Don. He invited our softball team to his cottage on a lake in Wisconsin, where he owned wooded property. We went out on his boat, sunbathed, barbecued, and enjoyed being with friends. I asked Don if he went out on his boat often, and he said, “No. When I come up here, I’m usually fixing things up. I will enjoy it when I retire.” He was only about 40 at the time, but he knew how many years, months, and days until he would retire. Unfortunately, a couple of years later Don was diagnosed with cancer and subsequently passed away. He never did get to enjoy his retirement in Wisconsin.
Do you enjoy the things you have? If you have a porch, do you sit on it? If you have a fireplace, do you use it? I am guilty of that one. Our house has a fireplace, but we seldom use it.
When we think of the happy moments in our lives, we tend to remember big events—our wedding day, the birth of our children, a graduation. Or we look forward to future events. The day we retire. An upcoming vacation. A holiday.
But what about today? Surely we’ve had moments of happiness. Let’s enjoy the present moment and look for bright spots in our days. Our lives are a gift to enjoy. Yes, we face challenges and dramas and bad times. Life is not 100% joyful. But that is all the more reason to appreciate the happy moments.
I am usually happy when I’m in nature. That crackling fire. A river rushing over rocks. A visit to our arboretum. I am also happy when I’m with family and friends.
The other day, my husband Ken and I enjoyed a 4-mile hike at a forest preserve. We passed a small lake, a creek, and a marsh. Birds were calling and leaves were rustling. And today, Ken and I walked for two miles in a nearby subdivision. It was a beautiful day. We explored and looked at landscaping. These were moments of happiness.
The little moments can make us happy. . . or not. How are we spending our little moments? Are we staring at a computer, TV, or cell phone? Are we fretting over little things—like the fact that it’s raining or too hot? Do we seek out happiness? Let’s try to appreciate small moments rather than always thinking of our do lists.
When have you felt happy recently? What would make you happy this summer?