Happy Things for 2015: Bloggers Unite in Flood of Gratitude

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Christmas scene – Greenville, South Carolina

50 Things that Make me feel Happy and/or Grateful:

my 2 daughters
my 2 grandsons
my wife and her family
spicy food
fresh fruit
.
artichokes
kite flying
skiing
hiking
my health
.
travel experiences
education
being appreciated for my volunteer activities
exercise options
being able to drive – sightseeing
.
memories of past friendships
a few good friends
being loved
books
libraries
.
the internet
the ability to write
clean air
clean water
trees
.
blog friends
sufficient resources to live comfortably
to be of service to others
to teach those willing to learn
to learn from those willing to teach
.
basic handyman skills
good vision
technology
television
movies
.
comedians who share their humor
irony
good writing
science and new discoveries
gummy bears
.
the ability to still be amazed
action and adventure movies
a good book
being able to communicate in another language (Spanish)
homemade cookies
.
a good cup of coffee in the morning
home-cooked meals
retirement
dogs — I like dogs
unexpected phone calls from friends

If you’d like to join in, here’s how it works: set a timer for 10 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list. The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s ok. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! When I finished my list, I took a few extra minutes to add links and photos.
To join the bloggers who have come together for this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post, into yours) 2) Click on the blue frog at the bottom of Dawn’s Post. 3) That will take you to another window, where you can paste the URL to your post. 4) Follow the prompts, and your post will be added to the Blog Party List.

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Happiness is…

Hydrangeas in bloom

Flowers announcing the arrival of Spring.

‘There are so many people who don’t know what they want. And I think that, in this world, that’s the only thing you have to know — exactly what you want. … Doing what you were born to do … That’s the way to be happy,’ said Canadian-born artist Agnes Martin (1912 – 2004), who would have turned 101 on March 22nd.

When I read these words I am reminded of the events that led my wife and me to adopt our self-proclaimed Six Monther lifestyle, our decision to live in a new country every six months. I had spent most weekends of my life in the great outdoors. However, most days I was never more than a few hours’ drive from home.

Then I met and married Florence, who has traveled throughout her adult life. I envied her that experience. There were places I wanted to visit and experience, too. Thus, we prepared ourselves to explore the world together. We sold our house, our cars, and whatever possessions we could not pack. Our aim was not to seek happiness, but to achieve it by pursuing our passion for discovery and adventure. People who learn of our lifestyle react in a variety of ways. The most common responses include:

1.  I wish I could do that, but I have to work so I will enjoy your lifestyle vicariously.
2.  I want to live like that someday when I can afford it.
3.  It sounds exciting, but I could never live like that. I would miss my family and friends too much.
4.  You must be crazy. Who in their right mind would sell everything and live like wandering vagabonds?

All of these responses are valid, of course. I have personally held each of these viewpoints at various stages of my life. It surprises many people, including me, to admit I have had my passport for less than two years. Perhaps I am much like my parents who eventually traveled extensively around the world, but not until we kids grew up so that it was something they could afford.

Heliconia in bloom

Heliconia in bloom

This phase of life is Spring, a season of optimism reminding us of regeneration and renewal, whether through religious beliefs or by simply observing the trees and flowers showering us with the vibrant colors of new life. Have you found what you were born to do? Are you pursuing it?
Happy Easter and Happy Spring!