The pursuit of happiness: what does it mean to be happy?


Over the weekend, our friends were in an intense discussion about the future. People fall into three categories: those who plan 5-10 years ahead, those who fly by the seat of their pants, and those who would like to live life spontaneously but fear the consequences of not planning ahead. 

We live in a time where many of us obsess and worry about the future. We are elbowing and racing each other to see who can get there better and faster. Sometimes without even asking ourselves if "there" is somewhere we want to go. 

In the discussion, someone asked whether a healthy view of "happiness" was the achievement of certain milestones - a great career, a happy family, a large house - by the appropriate time. If we achieve these milestones, will we be happy? Or are we focused on appearing to be happy by others' definitions than actually being happy by our own.

Everyone's definition of happiness differs. It is not to say that one definition of happiness is better another. What is more important is that we consider our options. Keep our eyes on your own journey and ask ourselves from time to time, what our definition of happiness is. Dig deeper than what our Facebook and Instagram feeds are telling us about what we want for our future. 

And while it's fantastic to plan, let's remember to not live our lives entirely in the future and miss out on today. We can be so concerned with getting "there" that we forget that we are actually "here".

We were introduced to a beautiful poem written by Nadine Stair when she was 85. She reminds us that part of being happy is to pay more attention to what's in front of us instead of what's ahead of us - "to have nothing else. Just moments." 

"I Would Pick More Daisies" by Nadine Stair

I'd dare to make more mistakes next time.
I'd relax. I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.
I would take more trips.
I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.

I would perhaps have more actual troubles but I'd
have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I'm one of those people who live sensibly
and sanely hour after hour, day after day.

Oh, I've had my moments and if I had it to do over
again, I'd have more of them. In fact,
I'd try to have nothing else. Just moments.

One after another, instead of living so many
years ahead of each day.

I've been one of those people who never go anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat
and a parachute.

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot
earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall.

If I had it to do again, I would travel lighter next time.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.

The Mindful Company Team

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