Source: Indys Child Parenting Magazine

Where Happiness Lives
In the course of a single day, happy moments abound

by Mary Susan Buhner

July 01, 2013

“Happiness.” I was curious what the actual definition of it was and after Googling the word I found it means a “state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.” When I read this, the first thing I thought was that there is a big range between feeling contentment and feeling intense joy. To be honest, I feel content most days. I am blessed with a wonderful husband and healthy kids. What's not to be content about? But intense joy? That kind of made me scratch my head for a minute.

How do I bridge the gap between feeling contentment and intense joy? After thinking about it for a while I decided it wasn't any particular event, moment or situation that could do it. And more importantly, it wasn't a person that could do it for me either. In reality, it was up to me. The older I get the more I realize that the time I make for myself brings happiness.

Sleeping in makes me happy. Coffee in the morning makes me happy. Not talking on the phone before 9 a.m. makes me happy. I have learned these little things about myself over the years. I like cheesy 80’s music – my kids make fun of me for it, but it makes me happy. I used to always change the station to what they wanted to listen to, but when the sun is out and I have my windows down, I tell them to let me enjoy singing out loud to Rick Springfield or The Go Go’s. Three minutes of pure bliss.

A good book, a funny movie, game night with my kids, date night with my husband, walking my dogs on the nature trail, time with a good friend - the list goes on. All these things make me happy and they all have to do with me and the choices I make. I am in charge of my own happiness. That doesn’t mean that I am selfish about it. It means that I am responsible for taking the time to do the things that make me feel, well, like me. As moms, sometimes it’s hard for us to own what makes us happy. The truth is, if you actually made a list you would probably see that it is not big stuff, but rather little things that fill you up and bridge the gap between contentment and intense joy – that this is where happiness lives.

Summer is always a time for me to slow down, embrace family more and make time for special moments without being on an intense school schedule. Everyone has their ideas of how to make the most of this time - when you are making your list of fun things to do with your kiddos this summer, don’t forget to add in what makes you happy.

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