A few years ago, I sat in a meeting room with a supportive and inspirational group of mothers for a monthly peer coaching session. When we had first moved to town, and our children were very small, I found an invaluable support system amongst the mothers of this group . Our Grand Poobah and facilitator extraordinaire led us through an enlightening exercise. We were to imagine one happy time in our lives. We could pick a time from any age and any place. After we selected that moment, we were to list all the elements of that occasion that contributed to our happiness. That time and place came to me without effort. Our wedding.
I’ll confess that the birth of our children came to mind only in the, “I should say the birth of my children” sort of way. Not to be misunderstood. Both births were amazing and miraculous and empowering, but they were also exhausting and sweaty and super messy. The first time around included the added fun ride known as The Ring Of Fire – lady pain that I can only describe as blazing, searing vagagony (pron. vaj-A-gə-nē). So, for me anyway, it seemed that if I reflected on all the moments of happiness in my life, I could probably think of an event that was noteworthy and wonderful and yet void of hemorrhaging and vaginal torture.
Our wedding weekend was so much more than painless and blood-free (and with that, she revealed that her hymen had been ruptured prior to her wedding night though she thought better than to reveal the details).
Ok, so birth – not a contender, but our wedding reigned supreme. When all of us in the coaching session reviewed our lists, we realized that we had identified through this exercise the aspects of life we valued most. That’s not to say that other parts of my life wouldn’t bring me joy, but that focusing on particular areas would bring me the greatest amount of happiness.
I’ll admit without shame that some things on my list are materialistic and superficial in nature while others are much more wholesome and worthy. Some had to do with my physical appearance. Others emphasized having money, living well and traveling. Many revolved around treasured friends, family and community. I completed my list with references to finding a partner who brings out the best in me and someone whose happiness is as important to me as my own. Intimacy was in there too (a.k.a. a healthy dose of hot sex).
Of course, we all know that it’s challenging to maintain a life of uninterrupted happiness. These events are often temporary moments that eventually give way to the realities of life. What’s important is that we’re aware of and honest about what gives us joy. Whether we’re looking to set life goals or plan something to do over the weekend, we can do so with a better understanding of what is really going to make us happy. I don’t mean to sound all life-coachy. I only wanted to share some thoughts about happiness on the anniversary of our most spectacular day and segue into a declaration of love for the person who makes me supremely happy.
Happy Anniversary to Gabriella, my greatest and most profound love. And Happy Our Anniversary to all of you who have touched our hearts before, during and after that enchanted evening in March, 12 years ago today. Wishing you all the greatest happiness – whatever that happiness is to you.