When I decided it would be fun to use my blog as a contest venue this past year, I had no idea how rewarding it would be. Not only did many of your participate, I had the good fortune to read all your entries, as did my assistant, the Marvelous Marna, who collated all the answers for us. Your task was simple, and not so simple. I asked you to comment on any blog with “happiness” in the title and tell us what made you happy. Simple because you only needed to write a few lines. Not so simple because isolating what makes us happy isn’t as easy as it sounds.
I suppose it’s not surprising that there were many similarities in your wonderful responses. I think it’s fair to say mostly women read this blog, and mostly women responded. It’s also not surprising that readers who stop by here have lots in common. If you want details of aerospace engineering or hikes in the Himalayas, this isn’t your blog. If you want to read about books and an author’s personal journey and interests, you’re in the right place.
We do share interests, you and I. We are made happy by many of the same things. Looking over the list, I found three birdwatchers, a hobby I’ve yet to take up because I can never find anything with binoculars. King Kong could be panting and drooling right in front of me, and I’d have no success locating him. So until I overcome this obvious handicap, the birdwatchers and I will be happily celebrating different joys in life. Otherwise, please know that I nodded along.
Above and beyond everything else, you mentioned good books–often mine in particular–and reading. Of course you know this thrills me no end. Seventy-three of you responded this way, and I salute each and every one of you.
Fifty-one of you mentioned children and grandchildren. Mother of four and grandmother of one here. I understand.
“Family” was happiness for thirty-one of you. Combined with the above, that’s eighty-two, and if we add husbands (twenty-three) who figured just below pets (I’m not making this up) at twenty-six, we have one hundred and five people who mentioned someone in their family–not including Fido and Fluffy, who are, in my humble opinion, family members, too.
Crafts and creative endeavors of all kinds were important. Twenty-eight of you mentioned them. Since I spent last night blocking scarves and sweater pieces, and will today finish my block of the month quilted stockings, I can only say “you bet.”
Friends were important to your happiness, just as they were important to the women of Happiness Key, whose search for happiness started this entire blog series. Eighteen of you mentioned them.
Water destinations (beaches, rivers, lakes) were important to thirteen of you. Again, the women of Happiness Key would tell you they agree.
On more serious notes religious faith was important to the happiness of many of you, as were health and surviving serious illnesses. Helping others featured prominently. Leisure time activities like traveling and vacations, music, gardening, swimming, make you happy. Saving money, eating well, chocolate (amen!), and a clean house found places on the list. Sunshine received seven votes, but rain got three, running and dancing in it and just listening to it fall. I love those images.
Are you nodding along? If you were one of the commenters, are you saying to yourself, “I meant to mention that one, too?” Because it feels that way after reading your responses. Even with all our differences, we have so much in common. You spoke with many voices, but your responses were of a kind. The simplest things make you happy. No one mentioned expensive jewelry, a twenty bedroom mansion, dining with the stars. We love our family, our pets, the pleasures of a good book, the friends we’ve cultivated. We love sunshine and even rain, the feel of yarn running through our fingers, the pleasures of tiny quilting stitches.
Thank you, every one of you, for taking the time to share your joys here. I wish continued happiness to all of you, but I’m not worried. You find happiness in the things you already possess. I am sure that whatever your futures hold, that will continue.