Happiness is…

What Constitutes a Happy and Fulfilled Life?

Simply hanging out with my family makes me happy. There’s a relaxed joy about just lounging in the family room watching a movie or favorite shows together. Not everyone in the family enjoys the same types of games, and that’s fine. Some of us enjoy being more silly than others. Personally, it depends on my mood; I can be crazy silly or just slightly silly. Spending time individually with my kids is also important to me – even if it’s just for ten minutes or so. Hearing their views on things, learning what’s important to them, knowing their goals in life (or just for the current week) … these things warm my heart. I encourage their individuality. This brings us all peace.

I truly enjoy the work I do at my “day job”. It’s satisfying to know that I helped someone solve a problem or that I did my part in maintaining a safe and secure place to do business.  It’s also a total thrill to me to push and challenge myself to do better all the time. It’s a bit of an adrenaline rush for me!

Photography is a passion of mine. Anyone can take snapshots, but simply buying an “over-the-counter” DSLR Canon from Best Buy didn’t instantly make me a professional. Yes, my photos started looking better, but until I really learned how to use all the settings available and invested in a few good lenses and learned more about composition (I already refused to use the on-camera flash – ICK), I was really still a point-and-shooter – just with a somewhat nicer camera. At best, I had moved up to an avid photographer or an aspiring professional. But I digress. What I love about photography is capturing the ordinary in extraordinary ways to draw the eye to things normally overlooked so you see the true beauty and find real emotion in things. This brings me joy!

There is something I find fulfilling, and that is to observe and totally absorb my surroundings wherever I am. At the risk of sounding like a stalker, I do pay attention to people at the store. I find human behavior very interesting. It’s much more than that, though. I pay attention to sounds and smells all around me, and I really SEE everything – not just what is directly in front of me. When I’m at the grocery store reaching for apples, I notice the entire display of the variety of apples and how meticulously they are stacked at an angle with the stems all facing left. I notice the sweet and tart smells and also the sound of the produce bag rustling as I place each apple into it. I notice the smooth coolness of the apple (or the peculiar bumpiness of an avocado) in my hand. Total awareness like this is extremely satisfying to me. To make the conscious effort to notice everything in life is important to me. It calms me.

Notice the end of each paragraph: peace, adrenaline rush, joy, and calm. These things make me happy!  What makes you happy? What satisfies you and fulfills your life?

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