What have you done with your summer? What are your successes? How have you had fun or pleasure? What have you been engaged with? What meaningful things have you done? What people have you spent time with that gave you wonderful and loving experiences? What have you accomplished or succeeded at during this summer?
If you have done things in all five of these areas, you have accomplished a lot on your road to happiness.
There are five major roads to happiness: pleasure, engagement or flow, meaning, relationships, and achievement. What have you done this summer to add experiences in all these areas of happiness in your life? Consider writing things down in all 5 categories and see which ones you may have scored an A+ and which areas you could pay more attention to.
In terms of pleasure, I have attended and watched many movies this summer. The 100 Foot Journey hit the top of my list. I’ve had lots of laughs thanks to the movies. And I finally started Netflix so I can see many of the independent films I’ve missed or that didn’t make it to Las Vegas.
Jersey Boys was filled with great music from the past, as was Love, and the other Vegas shows provided me with plenty of summer pleasure! Water for Elephants, Best Friends Forever, and The Reader have been great pleasurable summer reads a few summers ago. This year was topped with The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Light Between Oceans, A Paris Apartment, Me Before You, and Peace Like a River.
I’ve eaten at several new restaurants, had great Thai and Italian dishes. I have made several great salads and many seafood dishes. I actually had a Whoopie Pie on vacation. I thank my friend Kathryn for telling me about them – wow! I’ve even allowed myself to have chocolate and vanilla shakes this summer. I ate eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, and lots of herbs from my garden.
I spent a number of hours finding all the 5-leaved rose markers for clipping. And when I want to space out a bit or be totally engaged, I water my struggling, new lawn. It is easy to spend 30 minutes getting every little space filled with water so it grows in thick. It is also fun chasing the pigeons away with the jet spray from the hose.
ENGAGEMENT OR FLOW
Books such as Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, Love as the Way to Live, Creating Your Best Life, The How of Happiness, Finding Flow, Positivity, and Life Reimagined have provided me with my reading for engagement.
I have had many days of being in flow writing for my blog, Happiness Talks. I also felt quite engaged when I have written sections of my book in progress.
Much of my flow or engagement comes from cooking. I’ve tried several recipes from the new chefs which allowed me to spend weekends in flow while also having good food for entertaining friends.
The conversations with friends always provide me with good thought and much laughter. Meeting and getting to know a few new friends this summer was most engaging and pleasurable.
ACHIEVEMENT OR ACCOMPLISHMENT
Achievement has come through my writing this summer and completing my new version of my website: DrHappiness.com. I developed several good articles and The Happiness Kit for readers on my website.
I find it sometimes very difficult to separate engagement from meaning and accomplishment. I think a lot of my work with clients is pure engagement. It also is an accomplishment seeing them improve their lives and it adds to my meaningfulness to be of assistance.
Helping others is always meaningful. But helping while engaged in something meaningful can be a purely spiritual experience.
I work with couples counseling and individuals in relationship and business coaching. At times we are running through the daffodils or smelling the roses, riding the waves, going down the tongue of the river or floating in the clouds on our way towards their dreams.
It is the most blessed experience to be asked into the journey of someone else’s life and have the pleasure and reward of traveling to new and adventuresome places. I’m honored to help access and provide meaning for them as it is reflected right back to me.
Every day I receive magnificent gifts of this nature.
A most meaningful part of my week is when I call my beloved 83 year old friend. She has hospice care but is otherwise alone and lonely. She was meant to be with people but at this age and with her condition, she spends her time, as so many older people do, isolated.
Bev has an active mind which is always thinking and processing the political scene, DNA, and now the meaning of life. It is special to listen to her and resonate with her, bringing joy to both of us. To spend an hour on the phone laughing with her is the food of angels. Seeing her this summer was also meaningful in the discussing of her death and the joy of her life.
Cleaning out my closet and giving things to charity was meaningful. Making changes to my will and trust was also meaningful because they needed updating and I feel satisfied with it.
Going to the beach with a friend who has had several heart attacks this year was also quite a special time. The connection we felt as he went into the Pacific for possibly his last time was like waltzing the tango. Time was suspended as we talked and soaked up the vitamin D.
Watching him swim was such a joy, the smile on his face too precious for words. Being at Priest Lake on the boat with friends was pleasurable and engaging because of the beauty of nature. Remembering Jewell fly at the picnic site was a pleasurable experience without bounds.
A week of personal connection with the bonds of friendship added deep meaning to my life. Spending time on Lake Michigan with Sis and Cy was too much fun! A surprise visit from their daughter delivering unexpected pizza provided us with much laughter. Sharing a lake house with my 94 year old Aunt Fritzie is always filled with stories, laughter and her winning at cards. Even George was stunned with her gaming acuity.
Enjoying a family breakfast with a sorority sister I have not seen for years was a beautiful connective experience – beyond words. Seeing 2 Sigma Kappa sisters after 48 years was like seeing them at an annual luncheon.
Spending time with my great granddaughter was filled with the laughter and love of the generations. Being with my kids, Sis, and best friends and feeling the loving safety of those relationships topped off my summer.
The joy of a phone call from my step son, a beautiful note from him, the “I love you” at the end of calls with him are such indescribably delicious relationship moments. Hanging out with girlfriends, old and new always goes through all of these pathways to happiness.
Being at the hospital with my dearest friend and having him be alive, was again a loving connective experience. It feels like something without time that endures for eternity. Spending a loving summer with George has been delightful. Spending time with his family, swimming, boating, walking the dogs, grilling, and finding new restaurants have all been pleasures creating meaningful times. Our evenings on the boat have been heavenly and romantic. Lots of good conversations and meaningful dreams of the future have also filled our summer fun together.
The relationships in our lives are precious. I hope you are having pleasure, engagement, achievement and meaning in the most important ones in your life! I hope your summer was filled with as many moments creating happiness as mine!