So not only did you teach me about writing memoir, you also taught me about reading and thinking about how others write memoir. Thank you so much! Rebecca
Showing posts with label Happiness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Happiness. Show all posts

Monday, May 1, 2023

What Makes us Happy?

As I sit here on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, thoughts run through my mind and concerns slide in where they are unwanted. 
First, I think about my friend, Raven, and the book signing last Saturday. Several of us gave her a book party for her first published book, "Ode to the Still Small Voice, A Memoir of Listening."   This collection pays tribute to the still, small voice crying out to be heard and heeded. Raven's poems will inspire us to stop and listen.

Raven and her cake

It is said that people are happier in their sixties and above than at any other time in their lives.
I was in my fifties when Barry and I moved to North Carolina. The first year was exciting in many ways. I began taking writing classes with Nancy Simpson, but I was homesick for my home on the farm. My parents had died and leaving the home I had always known made me sad. But the fifteen years we spent here in the mountains were the happiest times of our lives together. Barry retired shortly after we settled in so we had lots of time to explore. We had a worn and rustic Jeep Wrangler and we often packed snacks and drinks and loaded Kodi, our Samoyed, on board and drove up as many roads as we liked exploring our new territory. We bought a pontoon boat and from a quiet cove, we watched sunsets over Lake Chatuge in spring, summer, and fall. 

We should all be happy that we have lived to be old enough to be retired, free of the responsibilities we had when we were younger. Once we accept that we have run our race and have no more mountains to climb, we can relax and do things we never had time to do when we were younger. Studies show that people in their forties are the most unhappy. That is when parents are sending their children to college or worrying about teenagers getting in trouble, wondering if they have done a good job with their own lives. 

It seems to me that stress is what makes people unhappy, the stress that keeps us up at night. But if your health begins to fail about the time you are ready to say goodbye to the nine-to-five schedule, another kind of stress hits. I remember how my brother, Ray, looked forward to finally having time to play golf, play tennis, and travel with his wife to faraway places. He planned to take long vacations and see the world. He had earned that pleasure, but too soon he was diagnosed with cancer. He was told he might have three years to live. He packed as much into those three years as he possibly could. 

I like to see men and women smell the roses while they still have a job or retire early if they can so they are young enough and healthy enough to relax and just enjoy their freedom and the fruits of their labor. 
One of my nephews is selling his house in the city and is buying a house with a pool a few blocks from the beach. He is still working but is not waiting for retirement. With his children grown and on their own, he and his wife can finally have time as Barry and I did to spend time together just having fun. 

When you are in your twenties, you feel like you have forever, but the years begin to fly by, and soon you can't believe you have your fortieth birthday. In our youth worshiping culture, we hate getting older as if it is the worst thing possible, but I look at some people in their seventies, eighties, and even nineties and see how content they are just being themselves. No need to try to be the prettiest girl at the party. It ain't going to happen at that age, but if you have a nice smile and share it, learn to listen to others and be truly interested in them, try to have meaningful conversations on subjects other than politics and religion, and laugh as much as you can, I think you can find that aging is not so bad after all. I find my happiness swells from having a good conversation with a good friend or my sister. 

Have a great week, my friends. Do something you enjoy every day. Laugh as often as you can. Remember those of us who socialize and spend time with others live longer. 
Write to me and tell me your thoughts on aging. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Poll Results

It seems that Hope, Health and Happiness is the most popular theme in our poll of what we want in life.
Second is Love, Something to do and Hope for tomorrow.
We all need Hope in our lives.
I lean more toward the second theme. I am one who feels that love is necessary in my life - Love of a good man made all the difference in my life, love of and from my good friends and my family support me today. I also need something to do. I think, as we get older, having meaningful work is important to our self-esteem and our health. From what I read about retired people, almost all of us continue to work in some capacity.

It could be the way I was raised, but the worst times of my life were when I felt I was not being useful. I volunteered at a hospital for awhile. Most of my time was spent doing absolutely nothing. I sat and waited for someone to come by or ask me a question which often never happened.
Some people enjoy those kinds of things, but I like to be involved, fully absorbed, in something that I think makes a difference.
Perhaps I do believe that happiness is one of the things we need in life because having hope for tomorrow, having something to do, and loving and being loved - well, that IS what makes me happy.