Feet, wearing blue and pink striped socks, hovering above fall leavesWhen I was 12 I thought that someday I’d be happy when I had breasts. Or when I was allowed to wear pantyhose or make-up. Or when I no longer lived “at home.” But when that didn’t happen I thought maybe when I had graduated from college. Or when I was married. Or when I had a mortgage. Or when I was out of debt. Or at least when I lost “the weight.”

Having reached most of these “goals” and still not finding contentment, I’ve found that I’ve had to dig deeper. Over the past 44 years here’s what I’ve learned about happiness:

  1. Happiness is about people. More specifically, it’s about relationships. Spending meaningful time interacting with people who inspire me and make me a better person brings me joy and fulfillment.
  2. Happiness is more about doing what you love than having things. Chasing tennis balls, some call it playing tennis, with my son makes me laugh til tears roll down my cheeks. Last weekend’s multiple games of Password still have me smiling. (“Grounds” = “cupcake”)
  3. No one can make another person happy. Happiness comes from within.

I look back with some sadness at the time I wasted struggling for my life to be perfect so I could be “happy.” And I’m amazed every day at how in many ways my life is so much less perfect now than ever…and I am so much happier.

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