I was told by a friend how much I reminded her of her late uncle, the most selfless person she knew. The next morning, someone told me they thing they notice most about me is that I always think of others first. It made me think (for once about myself) and I realized how often people ask me how I’m always so happy, and that the answer lies greatly in my prioritization of others.
So – what is happiness, anyway? I’ve said before that the little things are what matter most. I’ve also told you about BFF Night, one night a week where my best friends gather at my house, I make dinner, and we eat and play games. I had a moment a few nights ago at dinner that reminded me of my idea of true happiness. Matthew and I went to our favorite Chinese restaurant, Kwan’s, run by the cutest couple you could ever possibly meet, hands down (By the way, I had no idea they had a website until I just looked, in case I could link you there. I’m suddenly very excited in a geeky kind of way just to know they’re online). In the corner, there were two middle-aged women eating dinner together. They were the kind of women you’d likely hear about from Garrison Keillor – very Minnesotan, and very full of stories that were hilarious – even if only to them. I couldn’t help but hear nearly every word they said, all the way until they parted ways and left the restaurant. Their conversation wasn’t itself anything worth writing about. They weren’t really that funny. They were just normal-lookin’ and slightly above average. What struck me though was their clear spiritual connection that showed signs of great strength that only comes from being close with someone for a long time. It reminded me of people I have in my life that mean so much to me – and how sometimes we’re pretty much in our own little world where everything is funny and life is good.
I realized what I want in life is to be able to go to a sparsely populated hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant when I’m 54 to meet someone I can laugh and smile with for an hour or two. Someone who’s there to listen to my life and tell me about theirs. I thought about my life right now, and couldn’t help but smile when I saw that I’ve been extraordinarily fortunate to have met people I believe will still be in my life decades from now, and that I can share those kinds of moments with. Although I live about 1,300 miles away from where I grew up, and just as far from all of my family (and I do miss them dearly every day), I’m surrounded by amazing people who ensure my happiness as much as I do theirs. Why? Because I think of them often. They’re top of mind every time I think of myself – because they’re part of me. That for me is true happiness. Your happiness may come from a different place, but for me, that’s all I need.
How do YOU define happiness?