Happiness is a word with infinite definitions. It means something different to everyone.
Happiness is self-made, it is born of you and through you. Our bodies are happiness factories but not all the parts can be working perfectly all the time. You must learn how to make your own happiness. The recipe changes daily, and you are the only qualified chef.
Be happy for no reason because if you’re happy for a reason, that reason can be taken away. Don’t plant all your happiness in one person. Don’t be with someone who makes you happy, be someone who makes you happy. If you want to be happy, then be.
Let us not forget that it’s important to pause, every now and then, in our pursuit of individual happiness, to just be happy.
Happiness is not a constant. It’s not something you can buy in a store, it’s not something you can borrow from a neighbor, and it’s definitely not an annoyingly catchy Pharrell song.
If our lives are made for TV movies, then happiness can be compared to the commercial breaks. Brief moments of peace, soft pauses in the chaos of our everyday reality. Just enough of a break from our unhappiness to remind us that life isn’t always so horrible. Just a glimpse of clear, blue sky bravely peeking through the endless layers of suffocating storm clouds. Just enough motivation to keep us bravely chugging along until the next intermission of happiness temporarily arrives.
Happiness is a fleeting moment of serenity that seeps into our souls without a warning. We dance with it, caress it, smell it’s lovely perfume, kiss it hello…and immediately goodbye.
We are constantly chasing it, yet so rarely get the chance to hold it for long. It slips through our fingers like water when we hold it too tightly, it melts in our hands like chocolate when we grasp it too selfishly, we pause to worry about it leaving us, and it already has. It slips through the chains we tether to it, it seeps from the bottle we try to capture it in.
It eludes us, hides from us, fools us into thinking it finally belongs to us, just as it departs for another…
Happiness can be a real bitch.
But so can unhappiness.
Maybe we are addicted to talking about our problems. (tip: face your problems, don’t facebook your problems.) Break the habit of discussing your problems and change your attitude to gratitude. Stop comparing your behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel. Most people don’t practice what they post.
Count your blessings, not your blemishes. Line your every day joys up in a row and you have happiness.
Happiness shared is happiness multiplied; it is contagious. If you find it hard to catch, then try making someone else happy. Share it, give it away, throw it in the opposite direction, and like a boomerang it will come back.
To me happiness is a million tiny things. Happiness is having nothing to do, and all day in which to do it. It’s drinking fresh coconut water, sharing a favorite beach with a loved one, spending a day swinging in a hammock with a good book. It is spur of the moment road trips, floating in salt water, and being in a place where people love and accept you for who you are and not what you have.
Costa Rica, specifically the Nicoya Peninsula, is one of the known Blue Zones of the world. A Blue Zone is an identified geographic area of the world in which people live measurably longer lives, due to a number of factors. If you’ve ever spent any time in Costa Rica, living the pura vida lifestyle, then you probably understand why this country has some of the happiest people on the planet.
A year ago my husband Andy and I quit our jobs, sold our house and moved to Costa Rica without a plan, in our own pursuit of happiness. In the year we’ve spent traveling this special country, we’ve met many happy people along the way. Since happiness means something different to everyone, I wanted to gather a collection of the things that make these happy people so happy, so I asked them what happiness is to them and here are their unique, refreshing, simple answers:
Julie: Happiness is simplicity: simple living and simply being in the moments between the breaths.
Mitchton: I am sort of always happy as it’s a choice I make. Regardless of the circumstance I always get to choose my response.
Caitlin: Happiness is a complete surrender to presence. When we lose ourselves so fully and willingly in the moment that all the stories we tell ourselves about life dissipate. And what's left is the overwhelming light of our own existence.
Chris: happiness is waking with an insatiable hunger for life and going to bed full.
Danni: What is happiness to me... Happiness to me is finding that stillness inside and being content with what I have. Living in the moment and not dwelling in the past or trying to know what my future holds. Living freely so to speak. I obtain this through meditation, staying active physically and being in nature.
Kalin: Happiness to me is freedom. Freedom of time, action, and thought to minimize that which I ‘have’ to and maximize that which I want to.
I encourage you to take a few moments to consider what happiness means to you. Remember that it is not found in the next job, the next partner, the next place. Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are.
May you always find time for the things that make you feel happy to be alive. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured. Time flies whether you’re having fun or not. The choice is yours.
What are you doing right now? Are you having fun? If so, keep doing it. If not, change something.
Plant your dreams, pull your weeds, and grow a happy life.
Kari Pinkerton Silcox
It would be a tragedy to die, having never really lived. Which is why my husband Andy and I quit our jobs, sold our house and decided to chase our dreams. We moved to Costa Rica without a plan, and this is the story of our adventure.