What makes us happy?

by Elaine Palmore

What makes you happy? Think about it. Is it good food, good friends, or driving a Maserati? Is it going fast, or is it going slow, reckless versus cautious? There are so very many choices. Alas the choice is not always ours to make. Can you be happy if our country is in danger from the outside or from the inside? Can you be happy if you are in poor health? Can you be happy if you are wealthy and had more money to spend or would you be miserable, always worrying that the fortune you have made or inherited would be lost or taken away?

Happiness is truly a relative term and is different for each of us. For me, I think that if I had a porch swing with a great view of a piece of water and a good book, I could be happy. Although I am not always happy, it helps to be with like-minded people with whom I can share my life experiences.

What would it take to satisfy you? How about if you had second graders who follow directions, or college students who willingly turn off their cell phones to listen to you, would that satisfy your needs? How about if you were driving through the Italian countryside with someone you love or had a number of houses all across the world, would that make you happy?

What would your life be like if you just had that illusive college degree that you have dreamed about for years? What would happen if you earned that degree and nothing changed or, with that degree, you finally got that job you always wanted and hated it because your boss was a drag and no amount of money could keep you there?

Now that the autumn of my years are approaching and most of these questions have been answered, what now? Actually, I never anticipated living to be this old so I don’t have a game plan at almost 70. Being in good health and being able to maintain a healthy lifestyle is of paramount importance, everything else is irrelevant. Clearly there are some perks that are out of my reach and I have yet to get that porch swing, but I am grateful for the sunshine that flows into my living room in the morning. I love watching the birds and squirrels eat from our feeder each day. Most of all I love spending time with my husband, two spirited cats, an antic loving dog and all the rest of those I am grateful to call family. This for me is being happy . . . maybe even content.