Written By: Sarah BerthelyI met Sarita in college while we were studying in Philadelphia together. She became one of my closest friends; I remember many late nights eating cereal and just chatting in that North Philly dorm room. Thank you so much for your beautiful post Sarita! ***
Happiness has become such a buzz word. “Do whatever makes you happy” seems to be the slogan of the mid 2000’s, yet so many people seem to be miserable. What’s going on? In my online search for the etymology of the word happiness, I found an interesting clue as to why this could be.
My search led me to an online dictionary which showed that happiness is not a permanent state of being, but rather a temporary state produced from a more lasting joy. Joy is actually defined as the “source of pleasure or happiness”. Happiness depends on certain things to be going right for you to feel it. Joy does not depend on circumstance – it’s simply choosing to find something worth value in every circumstance. But, when the circumstances are favourable, happiness is possible for a time.
So, are we to simply spend our lives on this Earth attempting to always make the circumstances favourable for ourselves? I’ve tried it at times and become annoyed when someone or something doesn’t follow my plan. But I continue to mature each day and realize that I am only one of 6 billion others and my happiness cannot be my only concern. I think the more we learn to practice ongoing, steady joy, we learn to appreciate more moments of happiness when the opportunity arises.
When I moved to Mexico three years ago, I was a US American, a self-proclaimed city girl who paid little to no attention to what I considered to be “simpler things”. Take nature, for example. I did not care about things like the way a woodpecker curiously bangs his beak into the tree (I’m not saying that all city people are like that by any means or that small-town dwellers don’t ignore small things. I simply write from my own experience). I had never enjoyed something like nature unless it was in a park with a backdrop of a skyline. I had no interest in staring at the iguana in the middle of the woods for 10 minutes and commenting on the pattern that it walked in. I didn’t see those particular details as worthy of my time.
As I settled into the culture, though, I began to notice almost everyone around me constantly stopping to comment and dialogue about those very types of things—one beautiful flower, the way a certain bird walked, or a long, detailed description of a very specific fruit that I had never heard of. It took everything in me to smile and nod as if these details were the most interesting thing in the world. However, after a while, I too found myself sitting and commenting about things such as the funny way my in-law’s two cats interact with one another or how the neighbour’s chickens jammed their beaks into the ground when looking for food. I learned to find a little happiness in what I had always considered to be “unimportant” moments.
I have come to realize that so many people here choose to find moments of happiness in the littlest things while in the midst of what are such unfavourable circumstances the majority of the time (Google Mexican drug war, for example). They could just ignore the “simple” things because of such bigger things happening around them; but, they instead it is like they almost point out those little things even more. I see them as choosing moments of happiness in what others in more favourable circumstances would consider insignificant moments unworthy of stopping and commenting on.
Three years later, I find myself still in Mexico, still not a nature fanatic (and never will be, and that’s ok), but now stopping, observing and laughing at that funny fight between the iguana and blackbird in the tree or the way the tiny ants band together to carry a tiny piece of food up the side of my door.
I now find many more significant moments of happiness in such simplicity as this. These simple things were made just for that.
“It’s the little things that make life big.”
Us happy people gotta stick together.
I depend heavily on my family and my friends whom I ask to send anything on happiness, motivation, how they find it all in the name of life and being able to live it. I am very grateful to them for their participation. If you’d like to do so please…drop me a line.~FindingFelicity
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