Article by Wendy McCance
Over the weekend it snowed. It was a beautiful snowfall. Big, fluffy flakes of snow fell and made the homes, trees and bushes look like they had been frosted. It was so quiet and peaceful outside.
Inside the house, I had decided it was a perfect day to use our crock pot. I spent some time cutting vegetables, browning meal and mixing ingredients. I also made a big pot of soup. The house smelled fantastic.
The kids were sprawled out throughout the house with blankets and books or in front of the television playing a video game. The kids were content and happy.
As I worked in the kitchen, I would peek out the back window mesmerized by the falling snow. It just felt like a perfectly cozy day. I said as much to one of my daughters. She just rolled her eyes and asked what it was about everything having to be cozy? She said she was convinced that I was happier by the those little things than anything a person could do to make a day great. I thought about what she said, and knew she was right.
We began a discussion of why that seemed to be the case. I knew the answer immediately. When I was growing up, my father travelled a lot for work. My relationship with my mom, dad and sister was strained. We moved several times when I was very young. I believe all of these events culminated into me relying on myself for any happiness I felt.
I used to read often. I loved the family stories set in picturesque locals with close family members, overly loving parents and a few loving pets sprinkled in. I felt that this was the type of life that would make me feel best. I dreamed often of having that type of experience growing up.
As I got older, I rode my bike quite a bit. I loved riding through the neighborhoods with the picture perfect homes and the well manicured yards. I would see the kids playing in the yards while the parents were outside gardening or washing their cars and my daydreams for that perfect life increased.
I was great at making friends as I grew up, but I never got too close to anyone. I was afraid to put too much effort into any friend because I didn’t want to be disappointed if anyone didn’t turn out to be a person of the type of character I hoped they would be.
It’s hard growing up. Kids do change as they grow and not all moments are all that great. Fights between friends are common and loss of friendships inevitable. I was sensitive and loss was painful so I kept friends at arms length.
So back to the discussion with my daughter. I basically explained that I began to depend on myself as I grew up. I knew I would not disappoint myself. I always did the things that I enjoyed and took nothing for granted. Seeing the beauty in the little things was something I focused on and drew content from.
My daughter said that she was the opposite of me. She is incredibly social and puts quite a bit of emphasis on her friendships and family relationships for her happiness. I am happy that she has close relationships and feels so much happiness from them. I am also happy that she seems to have picked up some of my traits. Quiet moments will sometimes bring her peace and a sense of contentedness. She by no means is as caught up in it as I am, but she seems to have found a healthy balance between the two extremes.
What makes you happy? What brings you those content and peaceful moments? Or are you happiest when there is a lot of activity around you?