One of the earliest words our youngest said was “happy.” It would come out at the most random moments, but every time I heard it, a rush of serotonin surged through my brain and left the biggest smile. For that minute, I felt like I was getting this motherhood gig right after all.
The first time she said it, we were headed to the grocery store. I’d just turned up Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” at the request of my four-year-old and we were belting out the refrain. As the quiet resettled, I heard her little husky voice whisper “happy.”
Another time we were all huddled up on the couch, reading a book together before bed. “Happy,” she said.
In the subsequent six months, I came to realize that our not yet two-year-old would say the word “happy” whenever she was doing something she enjoyed with her family.
The 2015 World Happiness report found that the U.S. ranks 15th on the happy scale. The not-so-surprising findings? Income matters, but so does health (physical and mental), our connections with family, communities and our sense of freedom.
So for this second, let’s eliminate money, material goods and all the first-world constructs we’ve put in place to “improve” our lives and think about what truly at our essence makes us the happiest.
Relationships. Our people.
Think about how wonderful you feel after catching up with an old friend. How invigorating it can be to go on a hike or take a weekend trip somewhere new with someone you love. What excitement you get when you connect with someone who shares some of your same passions.
Those brief seconds that don’t require any THING other than the individuals with whom you choose to spend them.
At just 1.5 years old, our youngest already gets it.