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. ―
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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!