Updated: Sep 2, 2022
What do you do? What do you do on the weekends? What kind of food do you like…. All questions that might come up while getting to know someone new. Now nothing is wrong with these questions, but we are so used to them, and sometimes I feel like I am just downloading my response from a database of answers. Not much thought usually goes into my answers to these questions and I find myself just wanting to get through them to hopefully find something more interesting to talk about.
The other week I had lunch with a new friend. We did not spend a lot of time on the general questions but a question did come up. A question that made me stop in my tracks and think. I was a bit stumped…
“What makes you happy?”
A million things raced through my head, but at the same timeI was unable to actually say anything.. Plenty of things make me happy, and lately I have been very happy and feeling very grateful. So why couldn’t I answer? What finally came out was, “my puppies.” A solid answer. It was honest, they do make me happy.
Then I turned the question back to her. “What makes you happy?”
She said, “I love this question”, took a deep breath, smiled and looked up, then proceeded to list a bunch of lovely things.
Perfectly cooked salmon
Black and white stripes
Watching my plants grow
Drumming on my legs
A giant blue sky
The smell of rain
A long embrace with a friend
I loved her answer. It was so genuine and good. Why didn’t I think of those things to say? Those things make me happy too. Was I afraid those answers would sound juvenile, or unsophisticated? Why don’t these perceived juvenile thoughts and feelings seem credible to share as an adult? What would a grown up sophisticated answer even be? Why am I concerned with how my answer sounds if something truly makes me happy?
It was so interesting for me to analyze all of this. I am so grateful that she asked me this question. From now on I am always going to be mindful of the things that make me happy and share them openly. It is a great opportunity to be more mindful and thoughtful when communicating to others and to yourself.
What makes me happy?
Having my hands in dough
Harvesting veggies from my garden
Making my students laugh
Cold water when I am really hot and thirsty
Warm showers in the winter time
A long bath
Good memories of my younger self in life
And so much more.
Now I ask, what makes you happy?