At what times in your life were you the happiest, and why? This was one of my prompts from Story Worth - a type of memoir writing app my kids bought me for Mother's Day last year. Well, this prompt is a difficult one. Mostly, because I consider myself to be a happy person most of the time. And secondly, our memories can play tricks on us, right? I mean, when you think back to your childhood or even a few years past, we don’t tend to dwell on the bad stuff that happened. We tend to only remember the sweet stuff - the events that gave us joy. At least that’s how I tend to look at life.
So, that being said, I’ll try to remember a few times where I was ecstatically happy …
At fifteen when I started dating my first boyfriend
My sweet 16 party
Getting cast in high school & college shows
Going off to college
My wedding day
Becoming a mom - and the journey thereafter …
Visiting Florida and Disney/Universal trips
Any Christmas spent with my parents
Well … any Christmas!
Anytime I was able to perform in a musical
Teaching my gifted students
Getting a permanent teaching job
Any time my cats are around!
Vacations that were not all about visiting family
Dancing at my daughter’s wedding
Becoming an aunt
Cruise on the Mediterranean
Living in Florida
As I look at this list, I think that there is a theme that carries through most of the events and that is family. Being around family and friends whom I consider family creates the happiest of times. But it didn’t always have to be a special event that created happiness. I think about my days as a stay-at-home mom and all the fun I had with my kids. Just being around the people I love makes me happy.
Another theme that emerges is one of talents and passions. I am proud of my abilities as a performer, so any time I could be onstage was a time of profound happiness. Being able to share my talents in the theatre and have people recognize my skills with applause meant so much to me. Yeah, I kind of miss this part of my life. Maybe I’ll get back on stage sometime …
Teaching was another area that I loved. I think my talents as a teacher was in how I related to students. I wasn’t very good with the parents or even with following all the rules, but I was damn good at working with kids, talking with them, hearing them, and helping them to grow. It made me happy whenever I could help them understand something new - especially about themselves.
Another observation is how I felt whenever I visited my parents. When my kids were only 7, my parents moved to Florida, which meant they were no longer an 8 hour drive away, but more like 20. No more monthly trips to see each other. No more doting grandparents or just being able to hang with my folks. That was hard and I think I never realized how much I missed them. Truly, as an adult, the older I get, the more I appreciated my parents and the time I got to spend with them. (Still loving that I now get to see my dad every day!)
I believe that happiness is a state of mind. We naturally experience fun and unexpectedly happy times throughout our lives, but it’s up to us to be happy on a day-to-day basis. We choose our own level of happiness. It’s all about how you react to life. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, so when the crap falls at your door, you can either wallow in misery, or you can scoop it up, throw it in the trash, and learn from the experience and move on. Heck, you can even laugh at it - but don’t let it direct the rest of your life.
Choose to be happy. Choose happiness.