We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — The Declaration of Independence.
You know, our Forefathers really had this whole foreshadowing of the future thing going on. They knew, even back in 1776, that people weren’t going to be born happy, all they could do was pursue it. Kind of makes you wish you could go back in time and clock John Hancock on the head, doesn’t it? Old mousey wigged, know-it-all!
The constant quest for finding happiness gives me this image in my mind.
I’s going to get you!
Achieving happiness isn’t the same as a math equation, although I’d be equally in trouble if that WERE the case. You can’t say that just because someone Earned a Degree + Married + Had 2.5 kids = Happiness. The standards and desires of each person are different. But still, we try to make it formulated! We read articles, we join clubs, we go on juice diets, we hang out in a certain crowd, we buy skinny jeans and then don’t wear them.
Here’s a list of things I’ve done in hopes it would bring me happiness:
1. Bought and wore on the same day matching clothes as my best friends.
- Admit it, some of you have done this too! It was the absolute hype of middle school trends in my day. And I have photos where we’re all sporting the same corduroy overalls, “bibs” to the hip crowd. And I believe there was another incident with matching chartreuse turtlenecks. Yah, those photos aren’t going online.
2. Dated some boy I didn’t like.
- I’m sorry but he was an absolute turd of a human being who chewed way too much gum, and then had our mutual friend in band call me to tell me he was maybe-sorta-thinking about breaking up with me.
3. Played Truth or Dare at any age.
- First off, why did someone invent a game where the ultimate goal is to dig up dirt on your friends? And second, who in their right mind ever selects ‘dare’? This stupid game has made me give my pocket money to strangers, steal plates from Pizza Hut, drink water from the toilet, and quote lines from Young Frankenstein while dancing in a leaf pile on campus at some ungodly hour of the night??? And now, I sit back and eagerly await the search engine terms that will link to my blog.
4. Spontaneous sex.
- Oh sure, it starts out all romantic, you’re sneaking onto the rooftop of an abandoned factory, looking out over the city lights and traffic below. You start kissing, the kissing leads to clothes coming off, and what’s that…the rooftop is made of fiberglass?!
5. Join an intramural sports team.
- It’s supposed to be fun, that’s what the people told me who got me to sign up for intramural badminton. Back to back games with international Asian students kicking our a$$es! And then, my partner sprained her ankle and I got tendonitis. For reals.
But then are things that really do bring me happiness!
Despite the pitfalls of fashion trends and a dieting faux pas, there are tried and true things that bring us joy. I started up this blog to test them. Some of my particular favorites are:
1. Movie marathons
- Having been a video store clerk for 5 years, there were times where I wouldn’t go a day without watching at least one movie! Reuniting with favorite characters and quoting lines from your favorite flicks is a comfort thing for me. I love vegging out and having theme movie marathons.
2. Giving and receiving surprises from your friends.
- You can’t beat girlfriends. There’s just nothing like them. It makes my day when a friend surprises me with homemade spring rolls on my porch after a long day at work. And I felt good surprising a friend who was injured after a bike fall with an accessory box – all the fixings to get dolled up and still wear pants, plus a ticket to the new Sex and the City movie!
3. Visiting the library.
- I am a library groupie. I love the library. I rent all my movies and books from here and visit at least once a week. It’s a place to relax, browse new titles, stock up on as much as you want, and chill in a variety of sitting areas and furniture!
4. Simple dinners at home.
- You know what my favorite kind of date night it? Cheese, crackers, and wine at home. I love laid back, romantics evenings. Cooking at home or grilling out, making a meal together is fun. Put on Pandora and enjoy each others’ company. A favorite recommendation: making southwest food and listening to zydeco music, then eating alfresco on the patio.
5. Going for a walk.
- It’s not rocket science, it’s fresh air. Taking a walk is good for you. I’m lucky to live in an area where there’s a marsh and bluffs to walk or hike in. I think nature reminds us to slow down. To literally STOP and smell the roses.
Your turn! What are the things you’ve tried in the pursuit of happiness? And what things have you found that truly bring it? Got a happiness tip for me to try? Share it!
Meeting you and other blogger friends at DFWCon brought me great pleasure.
I don’t usually try to pursue happiness. Seems better to let it happen as a result of something I have some other reason for doing.
Good point David. And those are the times happiness is best, when it comes naturally. Meeting you and other bloggers was definitely a happiness highlight worthy moment!
I love your list of tried and true–all those things make me happy too!
I am going to wash my eyes now from that truth or dare pic-LOL! 🙂
Oh I had so much fun researching photos to use! LOL I’ll mail you some saline!
Loved this, Jess! Here are some of my tried-and-true: tickling one of my children; visiting the library (also awesome for me!); speaking in different accents (come on, you know you love it too); dancing wildly in my living room with no one but me around; cuddling with my hubby; singing How Great Thou Art (I don’t know why; that song just gets me); singing What I Like About You by the Romantics (hey, I have eclectic tastes); and giggling with friends for no particularly good reason.
Julie, I think we’re twins! Seriously! I love dancing in my room alone and talking in accents and How great Thou Art was my grandma’s favorite song so it always makes me think of her.
If we’re twins, I want to be your age. Don’t be mine. 😉
I’m just not going to ask about the fiberglass…
Some of the things that give me happiness? Wife, daughter, friends, laughing, Skiing, working hard at something I enjoy, freshly laundered sheets, helping at my daughter’s school, 8hrs sleep, scenery (hard to come by in TX), deep blue skies, that strange yellow-green light you sometimes get at sunset, and writing “the end.”
I love your list Nigel!
Love love love your blog 🙂 It makes me happy 🙂 LOL!
Fiberglass… really?! Love it. Just an all-around fab post! So glad we’re friends. Can’t wait to read your memoir/novel… you’ve clearly got some juicy stuff to dish out.
In pursuit of happiness, I’ve traveled to India to meditate my way to it, flown off to Peru at a moment’s notice to follow a potential Mr. Right, what haven’t I done to pursue happiness!?! Not much. But now I’ve found it. And it’s always with me. A delightful companion that’s made me realize just following the whimseys of my heart is what brings me joy. 🙂
LOL. I’ve got my share of stories like anyone.
Travel makes me happy. I love seeing new places, so your far away treks do sound enticing and I’m sure you learned a lot. But I think it’s best when you do enjoy the little moments or the ones that define you, define your dreams.
I don’t think I have. I’d like to do crazy things but I haven’t tried anything that crazy in pursuit of happiness. I’m a daydreamer for the most part. Truth or dare, I have tried that. Skydiving, yes.
Normally, I figure out what I actually like to do and do it. That’s what usually brings me happiness. Does impulse buying count as such? 🙂
Well, we’ve definitely all done impulse buying! And, I’ve gone skydiving too! I really did like that! I’d do it again.
This might be one of my favorite posts of yours. I can’t exactly explain why . . . you’ve written MANY great posts. But this one hits on such a truth–it is just SO true that we’re sure each next new thing is some kind of answer. I love the examples from childhood and a little later. And I agree with your list of things that DO work. The truth is, it’s never one that works, right? We need many sources of joy functioning in our lives simultaneously.
Oh I absolutely agree. The hard thing is we rarely notice all the good things happening until they’re gone. That’s one reason I keep a journal. It helps me remember and process those learning moments.
Thank you for the compliment, Nina!
Fab post, Jess! Your tried and true list has all of my favourite things on it too. *Let’s hear it for libraries!!* I would add family time and travel to mine (even though one takes away from the other, the catching up is always fun). But my all-time #1 is simply waking up each morning to a bright new day. (The “bright” has nothing to do with the weather!)
I agree, except I am more prone to react positively if the weather is in my favor. I love a good sunny morning. But I’m a fan of thunderstorms at night!