Bucket List, Musings, Travel

In Pursuit of Happiness

What is the pursuit of happiness? I’ll bet if you asked a hundred people, you’d get a hundred different answers.

The freedom of the open road is my kind of happiness.

For me, happiness cannot be defined without including freedom. The freedom to hop in a car, climb onto a train, board a plane and head somewhere I’ve never been in search of new and exciting things to see and do and taste. 

Grab and map and mark places you want to see.

COVID has narrowed my vision a bit, turning my attention to road trips and national travel, rather than international. I’ve begun unfolding maps and adding destinations to an ever-growing bucket list of destinations and journeys.

If travel is one of the things that makes you happy, now is the time to choose something new to see. Plan a trip to a place you’ve dreamed about. When you decide to travel, you find a way to make it happen. 

When I’m asked how I manage to be so happy all the time, I often share a simple philosophy I’ve chosen: Happiness is a choice and I make it every day.

Traffic happens. Don’t let it bother you.

Before you roll your eyes at that comment … I know it sounds a little trite. In fact, choosing happiness is not an easy thing. We let insults crawl up under our skin. We let slow drivers irritate us when we’re in a hurry. We let crying babies on airplanes drive us to distraction. There are dozens of things that can make us crazy on any given day.

How do you choose happiness when all these little things get in the way? Start with a simple fact … you control your own emotions. YOU do! Other people can bump past you on a crowded subway, cut you off in traffic or bully past you to get in line ahead of you. You can try to avoid physical discomfort, but sooner or later something outside your control will happen. Your reaction to it is what you control. 

I read a great quote once: “Never put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket.” 

I won’t even begin to suggest it’s easy. It’s not! It’s HARD!! Like anything else in life, it takes practice and patience. Start tomorrow. Get a good night’s sleep, drink that first cup of coffee and make a conscious decision to refuse to get mad at something. Start with one thing. When you notice the kids left their shoes in the middle of the floor, don’t get mad. Don’t yell. Simply and calmly walk over, remind them that’s not where their shoes go and walk away. Just don’t get mad. Easier said than done, right? Just do it ONE TIME. 

The day after tomorrow, try remembering to choose happiness twice. The next day, try stretching it to three times. It’s a classic practice-makes-perfect process.

Find lots of reasons to laugh.

Find reasons to laugh! I’ve been working on this for YEARS! I haven’t always been happy all the time. Even now I am not happy all the time. But I keep trying. I look for things to be happy about. I let the little things go as much as I can. Remember that your emotions are completely under your control. 

Celebrate the little things.

Celebrate when something good happens. When that young child sitting on the airplane behind is an absolute gentleman or young lady, acknowledge it!  Let them and their parents know how nice it is to experience well behaved kids (It’s sad that we’ve come to expect the opposite these days, but again, celebrate the good!).

There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Pursue happiness while you’re exploring it.

© The World A to Z, LLC 2020 — Unless otherwise indicated, no compensation was received for this blog.

2 thoughts on “In Pursuit of Happiness”

  1. Love this. There is no reason to be unhappy when there is so much in life to be thankful for. Even if it’s just waking up and knowing your are alive, you should find some happiness daily. Thanks for sharing!


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