Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: #22 Happiness Is…

This week for our Lens-Artist Photo Challenge #22, the talented Ann-Christine asks us for our personal definition of happiness.

So much has been written about the “secret” to happiness.  Money and fame are often at the top of the list, but I often think about Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture and his wise words:

The key question to keep asking is: Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have.  ― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Several years ago, my husband and I faced life-threatening illnesses, which reminded us with painful clarity that our time on this earth is finite.  We were very fortunate.  Our good health returned.  But we both realized that we shouldn’t delay saying “yes” to the things that truly matter to us.  We talked about my childhood dream of exploring the world and I convinced my husband that we could give it a try for a few months.  The experience has been unbelievable and is at the top of my “happiness” list.

Exploring The World

To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted. –Bill Bryson

A few months of traveling has turned into almost a year.  We both enjoyed it so much that we decided to extend our “gap year” and continue exploring and working around the world.  We’ve been renting apartments through VRBO and living as digital nomads in the USA and abroad.  It has been a wonderful adventure.  I can tell you that fulfilling a lifelong dream brings enormous joy.

New Horizons, Vancouver, B.C. Shot with a Fuji XT2

Drinking Tea

Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things.Chaim Potok

Next on my list is tea.  Years ago we took a family vacation to London where I was introduced to bold teas, steeped in little china pots, and served with milk and sugar.  My love of tea hasn’t waned after all these years.  My morning ritual of stirring in the milk and sugar and cradling the warm cup frames a quiet, peaceful moment of reflection.

Tea Close Up. Shot with a Google Pixel 2.

Eating Chocolate

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.~Charles M. Schulz

Item number 3 on my list involves food again.  I cling to the reports that chocolate is good for you.  It’s a marvelous rationalization for my daily “habit.”

Enjoying a slice of chocolate cake at Papa Razzi, Newbury Street

Being in the Moment

Why does watching a dog be a dog fill one with happiness?~Jonathan Safran Foer

The next item on my list is something I learned from our dear, dear pal, Max who taught me the joy of being in the moment.  I’m convinced that dogs intuitively understand this key to happiness.  Once we “settle down” in one location, my hope is that we adopt another dog with wonderful zeitgeist.  It’s contagious.

Max playing catch in Lake Winnepesaukee.

Spending Time on My Creative Passions

The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.~Neil Gaiman

One of the truly great joys in life is giving yourself the license to create and believing in the beauty and power and truth of your creation.  The hours when I’m deeply immersed in writing, photography, and cooking are some of my happiest moments.  It’s like looking through the oculus in the dome of the Uffizi and seeing the glory of the universe.

The Dome at the Uffizzi, Florence. Shot with a Fuji X-T2.

Spending Time with My Best Friend

One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.~Lucius Annaeus Seneca

I consider myself very lucky that my husband is my best friend.  I can think of no better partner in this adventure we call “life.”   Together, we have raised a son who continues to surprise and delight us.

Thank you, Ann-Christine for this week’s creative and thought-provoking challenge.  I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s individual definitions of happiness.

The next challenge (#23) will be hosted by Amy on Saturday, December 8.  Have a wonderful and joyful week, everyone!

53 replies »

  1. So much to be happy about, Patti! A wonderful and thoughtful post, and a reminder of taking care of the time and the friends and family we have got. Your post made me happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I want to be you when I grow up! Seriously, though, that was a lovely window on your travels and views of life. I’m with you on the subject of tea, chocolate and travel being keys to a happy life. Hopefully I will wake up someday in a position to do and see as much as I want if all three!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Creating memories and joy filled activities like you did is definitely a recipe for happiness. To see you and your best friend with our golden bridge of Vancouver at False Creek made me smile. Wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Eh? Is that Canadian enough, Patti. False Creek walk I did, over and under the bridge. Love the way Vancouver created paths that connected it from Kitsilano to Science World.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I know from experience there is nothing like a life threatening illness to reorganize priorities. I am happy you and your husband are now in good health as am I. And there you are in front of the Burrard Bridge! Do you live in Vancouver? I grew up there and lived in an apartment on Beach Avenue .

    Liked by 1 person

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