When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life.
Are you happy?
Do you find satisfaction in the way you spend your life?
Most of us spend our days scurrying around trying to make ends meet while simultaneously hoping to carve out moments of joy wherever possible.
Working to live or living to work, that seems to be the big question.
We would be well served to maintain a priority that enables us to find those elusive moments of happiness on a daily basis. Whether that is a special time of your day you allot for yourself, or purposeful vacation that you ensure will happen with regularity. A class you take that takes you to new personal growth, or anything else that is a moment just for you.
As we grow older and work to care for our family, the ability to be self-centered, even for a brief moment, diminishes.
But to John’s point, the meaning of life is to be happy. And while I recognize that providing for your family is, in and of itself, a joy that brings tremendous happiness, I would circle back again and remind you that this does not eradicate the need to find a few moments of just being you. A few moments to celebrate that 5 year old inside of you that never wants to grow up, that is always looking for a reason to spring into life and do an internal Snoopy dance.
Life is so incredibly short. Make it count. Take a moment for yourself with regularity and ensure you are tending to your inner child. It makes a real difference.
Last night, a friend invited me as a guest to a painting class. I have not put paint on a canvas since I was about 10. I looked at the white canvas with a mixed feeling of terror and freedom. I had zero idea what I wanted to do, and then I saw that we were all supposed to paint what the teacher was teaching as the subject. I saw a room of about 40 people who were all about to paint the exact same painting and my heart sank, I did not want to do that. I asked the owner of the event if I was obligated to paint the same thing as everyone else. He was very kind and offered me more paint, colors, and tools to do whatever I felt like. So I listened and watched the techniques the instructor was demonstrating, and with hesitation, I lifted the brush to canvas.
With the first few strokes, I was positive I had already ruined my painting! What could I possibly accomplish in a medium I knew so little about? Then I started to just enjoy the experience. Watching technique work, exploring, and totally gave up on any worry of the painting being of value. The value was the happiness in trying to do something that is creative… just because. Now I was in my home turf. I am passionate about creativity. So my inner child took two hours to just play. I turned out the only painting in the room that had nothing to do with what was being taught. I walked around and looked at so many interesting executions of what the instructor was teaching. Mine was very different. Much darker and moodier than the subject they had painted. The owner came by later and commented, “that is perfect with Halloween around the corner.”
And in the end, I got my painting lesson. Just dive in. Who cares? Have fun! Just do it. My inner child spent an evening being creative without a computer or any electronic device. It was like running in a field of flowers barefoot, just absorbing.
The point is this. Make a few moments to just be you. Let go. Don’t give a shit about outcome, purpose, reason, value, or any other preconceived judgment. Whatever comes of it is whatever comes of it. The only importance is whether you have allowed yourself to just be happy…. For happiness sake, and nothing more.