Thursday, January 31, 2013

In the Past Week ...

I completed the last half of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging last night. There were a series of questions that began with the phrase "In the past week ..."

I wish that I would have written some of these questions down, because they were questions that truly made me ponder. And by the time that section was over, I was feeling a lot more positive about my past week.

The one question that I do remember was "In the past week, how often were you happy?"

My immediate response was, "I was happy last Thursday!" Happiness after a dance lesson was a feeling that I had felt before and longed to feel again. So it stood out in my mind when life repeated itself last week and I came home with an inner happiness that didn't burst like a bubble the minute I walked back into my reality.

My second thought was when I was on the receiving end of a hug from the one-year-old yesterday. She likes receiving hugs ... but yesterday, she discovered the wonder of extending her arms and offering herself to give and receive a hug. These little moments make my heart so happy. There is truly nothing like it. But the flip side of that moment of happiness? Lunch time was a lesson in futility and I was truly ready to pull my hair out. The contrasts of life ...

My third conscious thought within that moment when the surveyor asked the question, was the feeling of pure and utter happiness and contentment when our cat chose to spend Saturday afternoon napping on my torso ... and how pleased I was to accommodate him. Especially after looking at him with new eyes lately and knowing that our senior cat will not be with us forever ...

I hung up the phone and other moments of joy throughout the past week came to mind.
  • An impromptu visit with a friend when I found myself on her side of the city and called her up on a whim.
  • A coffee date that pushed me out of the house and simply felt 'good'.
  • Savoring the sensory and visual pleasures that a home cooked meal can bring ... and on the flip side, finding out that the left-overs can taste better than the first go-around.
  • Looking back on the call display and realizing how many times within the past few days the phone has rang and I have found a sister; an uncle; a cousin; a childhood friend have been on the other end of the line.
  • Four out of five "perfect" daycare days for my two-year-old in the final stages of toilet training
Yes, life has thrown in its fair share of reality to offset those joyful moments. So when the answer to the question "How many days were you happy this past week?" was posed, I didn't have a black and white answer. I said there were moments of happiness within every day.

Now ... if only she would have asked, "How many days were you content with your life last week?", I would have had an immediate answer. Seven.

Seven days out of seven is not a bad average when it comes to finding your contentment factor. Life is not perfect. But there is nothing within my life that I do not have the power to change. That which is not ideal is something that I can work to improve.

As Aristotle says, "Happiness depends on ourselves". While I am working on that, I will focus on that which I already have:

"Health is the greatest gift,
contentment the greatest wealth,
faithfulness the best relationship."
~ Buddha

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