Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What is Happiness?

I have been thinking about happiness a bit lately. Maybe it is because I feel very happy. I am experiencing a "golden" time with my family.
We were talking about it at dinner last night. It came up because we were discussing money - winning Lotto actually- and I think Freya said it would make her very happy. I agreed, but then we started discussing the true meaning of happiness. I asked her what was most important to her, she said her family.Guthrie continued to say that having lots of money would make him happy, but Michael asked him a profound question, which I think we should all answer to understand what makes us most happy:"What would make you most sad?"

We all had the same answer for that question: the death of a loved one. We've experienced it, and along with our discussion we had a little cry about it. When you lose someone dear, it does help put things into perspective. You start to ask, "what is important?"

Another way to think about it, is to imagine, when (if) you are on your "death-bed", and you look back on your life, what will you consider to be your best accomplishments? What do you consider to be success?Because I think if you feel successful, you will feel happy. And I am not talking about success in the conventional way, though many would. Is success defined by what you own, the amount of money you have in the bank, the amount of assets, your net worth? I believe it isn't. When you die, you won't really care about that, having loved and been loved, that is so much more important.

I once read something about being thin. How western society places so much importance on looking slim and youthful. But really, will you look back on your life and say,"I was slim!I lived a good life". I highly doubt it. I know, despite often feeling bad about my size and shape, that I am glad to have the "scars" born of motherhood, The "marshmallow" belly (thanks Freya!), the grey hair, the wrinkles. They are tell the story of my greatest accomplishments - my children, my life with Michael.

Having said that, I do place much value on good health, so I am trying to reduce the marshmallow belly! I'm not in a great rush however, because right now my priority is keeping Charlie happy, and my exercise routine is a little lackadaisical (is that a real word?). Anyway, it isn't as good as it has been in the past, but I don't beat myself up over it, because getting enough sleep, having meals ready and generally keeping the status quo is my priority, I work around that.

Once Charlie is 6 months old, and perhaps has had his first vaccinations (still unsure about that one, that's another future blog!), I will feel more comfortable about putting him in the creche at the gym, and will do a couple of classes every week. That isn't all that far away, he'll be 6 months on the 23rd. It has slipped by so fast.

Which brings me back to the topic at hand : happiness. Enjoying every beautiful day that comes my way, with my gorgeous family and friends: that's happiness.

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