It had been a long day that included enduring a wintry commute, driving carpool to the kids’ extracurricular events, figuring out what to feed my people and trying to wrap my brain around the details of a new job. I was tired. I didn’t want to read, talk or think. I just wanted to pour a glass of wine and veg out in front of the television. So I flipped through the Netflix selections and settled on a documentary called, Happy.
Serenity washed over me as I watched smiling people and heard scientists say what we know in our hearts to be true, that happiness has little to do with material wealth and a lot more to do with our environment and choices.
The topic of happiness seems overdone, even trite. We probably hear too much about being happy and how to become happy. But the message of this film is different. It details years of scientific study on the subjective topic of happiness and illuminates some of what truly fulfills a person’s life. Things like physical activity, time spent in nature, being with family and friends, being compassionate and varying your routine.
It’s not rocket science. And yet, when we make decisions about how to spend our time or which career path to follow, we may not be focusing enough on…
- What type of environment do I thrive in?
- What kind of people/personalities do I want to spend time with?
- What can I do to make the world a better place?
In a recent job interview I admitted to having no specific long-term career goals. I don’t recommend this tactic. But it’s true. My education and career path have been organic and non-linear. I practice things I’m good at and have managed to squeeze through a few cracked doors of opportunity.
My next opportunity involves moving on from magazine writer to editor. My routine will vary and I’ll be challenged to learn new skills. I’ll continue to be surrounded by inspiring and creative people. My schedule will still allow me to run carpool, exercise, volunteer and have plenty of time to hang out with family and friends. And hopefully, my on-the-job efforts will result in engaging and entertaining content for readers.
According to the science of happiness, this is a pretty decent mix of ingredients. Of course, a splash of wine to top off a long day can’t hurt. What choices are you making that contribute to your sense of happiness?