Everyone wants to be happy. We search for ways to be happy.
But do we take time to reflect on our happiness, what truly makes us happy, and practice the gratefulness that makes us happy?
Living in Mexico has altered my perception of happiness. I have visited city neighbourhoods where people have dirt floors and tarps over their heads, or more “upscale” areas with cement walls or even apartment buildings. We were invited to a mountain area where people live off the land with very little money, growing what they eat and raising pigs, cows and goats. They walk their children into school down a dirt mountain path, leaving them with family for the week.
Things here are not the same as at home. Local people don’t have 3000-square foot homes, three cars and the newest items in those homes.
And yet all around me are people who are happy. They smile and say hello. They help each other and share. They work hard every day. They gather with their friends and family and visit and laugh. They offer what they have, even if it isn’t much. Who’s to say their version of happiness is not as good as our definition of happiness?
We see people simply spending time together, enjoying the company of those around them. I wonder if we in the “western world” have lost the enjoyment of that slower pace of life. It is a status symbol to be busy. We check our phones instead of interacting with those around us. We plan for the future instead of enjoying the moment. We think big events like vacations are what make up our life, when the little things that happen every day are really what make up our life.
Am I happy every day? No. I miss my family and I miss old friends. I have regrets and I worry. I lay awake some nights, fretting. I look at other people’s experiences or belongings and wish I had them. I see advertisements or walk by stores and want to buy things that I don’t need.
But I am making new friends. I am finding solace in being alone, too. I enjoy the unlimited time with my husband while we are both healthy and able to enjoy time together. We enjoy our quiet times as we realize we don’t always have to be busy doing something or being with other people. I remind myself that I have enough and don’t really NEED another item of clothing. You will see the same clothes in many of my photos these days!
Life is not perfect, but this is life. Being grateful for what I do have, rather than thinking about what I should have, has made a difference for me.