Peonies in Vase

What is Happiness

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Purely an opinion, my opinion, on what makes us happy. Us meaning GreyFeathers… Us who are around 40-60 years old. Obviously, I don’t live with any of you. I don’t know where your daily ‘happy meter’ is set. I’m sure it changes from day to day or week to week, dare I say year to year? You catch my drift.

“Happiness is wanting what you already have.”

It’s a great quote, isn’t it?

What is happiness?  According to Meriam-Webster it defines happiness as:  “a state of well-being and contentment: joy.  Also: a pleasurable or satisfying experience.”

I am always happy in the morning when my husband starts rolling around in bed and gently grabs my leg or arm or breast as a little “hi, I’m up, you?” Other times I’m happy that both my little chicks went to school (because sometimes they do not). Or my daughter calls to tell me about her shift at the hospital. Or my son asks me to call my state Representative on some law that he’s passionate about. It tells me that they want me in their adult lives. What more could I ask?

I am happy when it gets dark and windy outside because I know it means it is going to rain – and I just love rain. Truly, it makes me happy – I know, odd… I guess it has something to do with the beat of a different drummer?

I love watching my children grow into the adults and young adults they are becoming. I see myself at their age, and at my current age – that perspective is a magical gift. Maybe that’s from not having a mother for the last 10 years? But I appreciate that magic because it makes me more in the here and now ‘in the moment’ with them.

When my husband calls me all day long just to check in, I’m talking upwards of 15 calls a day. The calls last maybe two minutes, but it’s that constant emotional connection that fills me.

When I see peonies, they bring an instant smile to my face. When the gardenias are blooming in my yard, another smile. When the fire is roaring in our back yard and we are sitting around under the stars, WOW WOW WEE WOW.

Outdoor Pizza Oven

When I cook for my family or a crowd I’m loving every second of being busy and making something with my hands. One time (in band camp) I made pizza for our friends in our outdoor pizza oven. We had run out of starter wood so my husband ran to a home improvement store to get more. All he could find was fencing. I used it. Smelled a little funny, but it was building a lasting fire to cook the pizza. Long story short, the pizza tasted like poison. We looked at some of the unused fencing and it said, “treated with arsenic” – crap!… we are all still friends.

Walking on the Ponte Vecchio at 8:00 in the morning is pure bliss. Not one person, not one jewelry vendor open. Just quiet.

Owning a gas stove makes me happy.  When I first moved down to Florida from the northeast 21 years ago, it would take me upwards of one hour to cook boxed macaroni & cheese on the electric stove – that’s how many times the electricity goes out in hurricane season.

Oh, having a whole-house generator was BIG happiness for my Mother’s Day gift a few years ago. Try living through a hurricane that knocks out your power for 19 days – in the summer – in Florida. Thank God we had a pool.

After my dad passed away and everyone had left the room, I stayed with him until the funeral home came to collect his body. Why was this happiness for me? Because it was the last time I could be with him, all to myself for nearly two hours. It was stolen time.

One day we were outside, my oldest son, Enzo (our HUGE German shepherd) and myself.  My son was teaching me self-defense moves. Enzo got right in between my son and I to protect me. I swear when he looked up at me he said, “I got your back, don’t worry.” That action made me really happy.

This is going to sound pathetic, but the first year my daughter was away at college, in those first few days we were both completely heartbroken. But around day 5 it was like, holy crap, the girl never left! She must’ve called me every hour of every day for the first month. Why was that happiness for me? Because it taught me that no matter how far away your child goes, they will want or need you in their lives. Sure, we know this in theory, and yes, I had an older son that was already graduated from college by then… but there is just something about daughters and mothers…

I am always happy when my time on the treadmill or elliptical is over!

I am happy to watch The Office or Shameless.

Writing makes me happy. Walking on a very special beach in my favorite place makes me super happy.

Hey, have you ever walked into a house and gotten a hug? The house we bought in Maine, which we bought over the internet, was that house for me. No lie.


When I gave birth to my first two children my sister sat in the room with me the entire time. I made her stay. Just knowing she was in the room with me was happiness. (she is going to KILL me when she sees her photo!)

Don’t we all have ups and downs – sometimes in one day or sometimes in years? Whatever your normal is today will not be your normal a year from now. Trying to enjoy the moment you are living is a difficult action sometimes, isn’t it?

But when all of my children are home and we sit down at the dinner table, or we are all in the kitchen talking about anything and everything, I sit back and look at all those baby chicks I created – for me, that is “Happiness is wanting what you already have.”

If you liked this little article, I would be grateful if you shared it with your friends.


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