Pause. Invite. Appreciate. Share. Repeat!
I was sitting in the airport last week, focused on a six year old boy playing with his Dad. This boy, I’ll call him Junior, was adorable—wearing those shoes that light up when you walk. I fathom he had on a new outfit and his backpack was full of action figures and snacks. If I had to guess, the young Dad, sporting a 5 o’clock shadow, had probably worked the night shift before picking up Junior for the trip.
As we waited to depart, Junior was bouncy, silly and delightful. Dad could barely keep his eyes open so Junior decided it was time for a joke, then a song, or wait let me tell you about school, and so on. He reminded me of the finches at my bird feeder. Constant chatter. Constant movement.
Dad did his best to smile and nod but he was a man of few words. Although silent, Dad radiated warmth and pride.
“It’s too bad we outgrow happiness”, said the women sitting next to me. I paused, mostly in shock, and then she repeated herself as if I hadn’t heard her. “It’s really too bad we out grow our happy years.” I am rarely speechless but this comment shut me down.
Had I been younger, I would have launched into a full discussion or rather debate on why she was dead wrong. Now that I am older and wiser, I chose instead to look at my reaction and why I was so bothered.
My Girlfriend Voice was purring in my ear.
I paused and thought about what she said. I invited my wise Girlfriend Voice to help me understand and respond without sounding like a “B” or a “new age know it all”.
“I absolutely disagree that we outgrow happiness!! Yes, we outgrow clothing and sometimes relationships. Yes, our brains thirst for increasing knowledge and experience. Yes, with age comes responsibility but also opportunity. Happiness is always available.” Exhaling, I took a big breath in and awaited her response.
Does happiness have a shelf life? NO
Is happiness finite? NO
Imagine if we told every child to make sure they were happy when they were young because as adults didn’t have the same option. And not to use up their happiness too fast because it is in limited in supply!!!! This is ridiculous, huh?
The lady never did respond to me. My annoyance with her eventually turned to compassion. (Really did!) Her reasoning could be seeded by a track record of pain and disappointment or the belief that she wasn’t entitled to happiness. It wasn’t my place to try to fix or convince her. Luckily I know that happiness is my responsibility and available to me no matter what my age.
My definition of happiness has broadened since my younger years. I find delight in many things because perhaps,
I invite happiness to linger. Inviting….
I appreciate the gift of happiness. Appreciating….
I readily share my happiness with others. Sharing….
Most of my happiness results from experience rather than things. Loving myself sets the stage for happiness to enter freely and frequently. Life can be hard but happiness and love soften those hard edges, providing the fuel to move forward. Gratitude lights it all up — the icing on the cake!
Happiness seeds my joy and content.
Once we took off, I lost track of the lady but I could see that Junior had folded his slim body over Dad’s lap as they both napped. Sweet refrain for Dad. Sweet dreams for Junior.
From the heart,