It is easy to get lost in the day-to-day. Appointments, meetings, cooking, cleaning and kids fill the hours and somehow the days turn into weeks into years. And, slowly – time has passed into opportunities lost. Today, as I raced through the beautiful tree-lined streets on the hunt for the neighborhood crew of kids, my neighbor asked about my weekend. I rattled off a long list of things I had done and tasks I had proudly accomplished. And she asked, “But, did it make you happy?” And I stopped. I was not quite sure my nearly completed “to-do” list was something of happiness…more like accomplishment. And once I started to think, the two things are not always interchangeable.
We live in an area where we can’t avoid responsibilities, but we can plan wonderful escapes. We are some of the luckiest people on the planet, so I think, where we can enjoy the beach one day and climb mountains the next. In the interim, we can bike, fish, shop, try a new bistro, attend a sporting event, or take in show at the local theatre.
There are things we can do close to home when we cannot get away to explore our local backroads. Sometimes it just means slowing down and remembering, getting ‘stuff done’ is not always as important as we think it is. It is remembering that small moments can be filled with little snippets of joy – even if they are not productive or do not allow you to cross something off the long list of chores.
Today I changed my typical day. Instead of powering through work, I stopped and asked myself, “Well, will it make you happy?” And if the answer was no, I just didn’t do it. And although there are some straggling dishes to be washed in the sink and laundry to fold, today I found many moments of happiness. I read a few chapters in a new novel I picked up at a little treasure of a bookstore up the street. I took a long walk with the dogs and stopped to get a piping hot latte for the walk home from a favorite coffee shop. I had a glass of wine on the porch at sunset. By the time the sunset, I could honestly say, “Yes, these things made me happy.”
Now the challenge is for you to find your moments of happy in a day full of responsibilities. Maybe you can’t clear your whole schedule – but, I am sure you can find bits of time throughout the day that will brighten your mood and lighten your step. And if you take some time to slow down, I bet you’ll find some hidden gems in your town that make finding your happy just a bit easier.