Sunday, March 14, 2010

finding happiness

pondering happiness quite a lot in the face of the excitement of moving to the other side of the country (which admittedly is like moving from one side of wisconsin to the other and not as big as it might sound). husband is like a little kid anticipating christmas. he actually fell asleep last night with a smile on his face. he's covering reams of paper with sketches of the possibilities for renovations. we're now betting on two horses, as it were, and have given an offer on a second place, since the dog sled transport to northern canada is apparently unreliable, or else the laid back realtor hasn't actually sent a dog sled or any thing else, as we've heard nothing regarding our first offer. not being ones to wait around, husband has now talked himself (and thereby both of us) into the second place being better anyway. and he's right, there are more possibilities for ripping out everything that's there and putting it back in as we would want it.

now betting on this one as well. what's cool is that there's a lake on the property.
and although the first thing it needs is a new roof, that does afford opportunities not afforded by the other place, which recently had a new roof, although the engineering calculations surrounding that new roof are openly suspect in several places. so i think husband is right, the second property is better for us anyway. but my point actually is that even just talking about all of this is making us so happy.

leading me to think about what happiness is. it's an eternal question, isn't it? and we're eternally in search of happiness, tho' i'm not sure we always recognize it when we see it. for me, it's something different than contentment. contentment is a mild, tame form of happiness. a resting, easy thing. whereas, what i think makes us happy, makes us really tick, is having some enormous, seemingly impossible, daunting project on the horizon. i can definitely see that in husband. he's transformed and positively beaming at the prospect of this project. of course, it's also his new job that's transformed him - he was more than a little bored and frustrated at work and just going through the motions. he's looking forward to his new job, but even more, to the new house and all of the possibilities it represents.

these projects also remind me of our strengths - i can see things in my mind and he can build them. i pick colors, he paints them. in other words, i get all the fun and he does all the work. i guess i'll probably spend another summer with no kitchen, cooking on an old stove out in the yard and eating lots of salads. maybe it'll be time to try that raw diet i've long wanted to try. perhaps it will clear my mind so that i'll make good choices on all of those colors that we'll need on the walls in the new house. whichever one it ends up being. at least the waiting paralysis of last week seems to have passed and an excited, expectant happiness has stepped in to replace it. and that makes me very happy.

what made you happy this weekend?


Lisa-Marie said...

Things that have made me happy - getting y email address for a new job (it's top secret at the mo, I will still be nannying too), and the prospect of volunteering for a really good charity as a mentor.

Oh, and the sunshine, albeit from inside, and managing to do ALL of our washing!

so NOT cool said...

You mentioned Wisconsin!!

In out house too, I design things (like coat racks) and put my husband to the task of building them. He paints some things, but when it comes to doing good, clean painting ... I must do it. He's a bit on the sloppy side. ;-)

Barb said...

I hope you hear soon on your second offer. Moving is exciting. I'm not sure how I'd cope with no kitchen. But I guess if one looks at it like an adventure....
Anyway, I'm happy for your happiness!

Maria-Thérèse said...

Hopefully your husband feels that he gets to do all the fun too :D

How do you add the little captions to your photos? I think it takes too long with html so I'm curious if there's another method.

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

What made me happy this week-end was going home after working 12 hours(Saturday and Sunday)at the hospital and being with my family.

Also, as I was leaving the hospital Saturday I saw two rainbows at the sametime--they were side by side and no rain in the area!

Have a great week!

Tracy :)

Trina S. said...

OH MY the possibilities! SOOOOOO awesome! I can't wait to see which you get and how it looks inside!!!!!

SO neat!


CatLadyLarew said...

What an exciting time you're having! This second place sounds even better than the first.

I also like the distinction you made between contentment and happiness. I'm finding I'm content these days, but happiness is eluding me.

rxBambi said...

moving makes me happy, although I haven't done it in 7 years now. I love the endless possibilities that a new house has to offer.
keeping fingers crossed on the offer =)

Elizabeth said...

You sound like yourself again, perfect. Makes me smile big time when I read about the painting because girl you can do that with a little bit of effort.
Congratulations for husband on his new job!!!!

Polly said...

this house looks like a hell of a project, I'm glad it makes you happy rather than overwhelmed, happiness is so many different things. for me, right now, I'm perfectly happy to be sat down with my feet up on the coffee table, resting after another killer working Saturday

Miscellany said...

from Wiki: Happiness is a state of mind or feeling characterized by contentment, love, satisfaction, pleasure, or joy. A variety of biological, psychological, religious, and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources.

While direct measurement of happiness presents challenges, tools have been developed by researchers. Positive psychology researchers use theoretical models that include describing happiness as consisting of positive emotions and positive activities, or that describe three kinds of happiness: pleasure, engagement, and meaning.

Research has identified a number of attributes that correlate with happiness: relationships and social interaction, extraversion, marital status, employment, health, democratic freedom, optimism, endorphins released through physical exercise and eating chocolate, religious involvement, income and proximity to other happy people.

Philosophers and religious thinkers often define happiness in terms of living a good life, or flourishing, rather than simply as an emotion. Happiness in this older sense was used to translate the Greek Eudaimonia, and is still used in virtue ethics.

Happiness economics suggests that measures of public happiness should be used to supplement more traditional economic measures when evaluating the success of public policy.

Megan said...

big projects make me happy too. running my marathon made me so so happy. and even though i can't seem to find a house to buy right now, the thought of actually finding one, painting it, making it my own, has me bouncing of the walls with happiness.

as for this weekend...I am happy right now! It has been pouring all weekend and I managed to slip in a run in while it was only sprinkling. Now as a sit here typing this I can here the rain coming down hard...and I am happy and comfy inside.

Glad your waiting has worked out for you. Hoping you get a more prompt response on this offer!

Anonymous said...

I think our hubbies are twins, lol.

I just love this post, and I find myself excited and happy for you! Really!

Miss Malorie said...

I'm glad you're happy :) I received a fortune out of a cookie once, and I remember that it distinctly said: "Happiness isn't something you remember, it's something you experience." I'm glad you're experiencing it now :)

This weekend I was made happy by being around some of my favorite people, and by the gorgeous Florida weather starting to get back to normal. Can't get much better than that!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the second home really is better for you. I like the idea of having the lake. Horse, I don't think I'd want that. Maybe a pair of dogs. We have a Norwegian Elkhound that would adore your part of the country. He is happiest when I'm cold.

Char said...

i read the first chapter of "the happiness project" and found myself nodding along. that the opposite of happy is not unhappy really and it helped me realize that i'm not unhappy. happy is too often a 'target' for me and it moves way too much. so i'm trying to re-wire my brain for being happy with contentment.

love your family - love that you are pursuing what is great for you all. that is a beautiful thing.

Ribbon said...

in answer to your question... spending time with a very happy child.

What drew me here today is the first absolutely beautiful photograph... now that's made me feel happy ;)

Good luck with your new venture.

I think we recognise happiness becasue we know unhappiness ;)

best wishes

Jill C. said...

What made me happy was spending the weekend away with my husband!

Katea said...

Happy spots this weekend - Dancing to "Celebration" (by Kool & the Gang) with a nearly 100-year old woman whom I'd just met! And seeing more new plants coming up in the garden - we're up to almost 20 green bean plants, along with several zucchini, tomatoes, jalepeno, and more. The beautiful weather has been helping get all the plants off to a good start.

spudballoo said...

Wise move to bet on both...the 'right' one will win out, that's for sure.

Your happiness/contentment points are so interesting, I have a completely different take on it which I think is a reflection of how my life has turned out thus far. Too complex to debate here, but I aim for contentment. It's always fascinating to see someone else's take on such a topic!


Sammi said...

Depends really, on what you call happiness...

Right now happiness for me, is being so settled in my little life that the outside world seems like such a far away place, when really it isn't.

The thing that made me happy over the weekend, the most, was finding out that I have four extra days holiday, extending it into 2 weeks, how bloody awesome.

mrs mediocrity said...

Yes, having something to look forward to always puts a little spring in your step...
I have also been trying to force myself to enjoy the moment I am in, so that I might find a tiny bit of happiness everyday, in the mundane moments that fill so much of our lives.

Bee said...

You almost make me envy your upcoming project, (even though I wouldn't want such a thing myself). Your description of Husband's happiness is very touching, though. Especially that image of him falling to sleep with a smile on his face!