Psychologist Martin Seligman provides the acronym PERMA to summarize many of Positive Psychology’s findings; humans seem happiest when they have Pleasure (tasty foods, warm baths, etc.), Engagement or (aka Flow, the absorption of an enjoyed yet challenging activity), Relationships (social ties have turned out to be extremely reliable indicator of happiness), Meaning (a perceived quest or belonging to something bigger), and finally Accomplishments (having realized tangible goals)
I could probably run off into the stacks to find scholarly work, but, I think wikipedia works fine for this use. One of the “biggest” quests, small or large, that we all undertake is the quest for happiness. Which then leads me to ask you, the reader, what makes you happy?
No really. What makes you happy? Close friendships? Money? Goals that you are working for? Goals that you have achieved? Family? Adventures?
After current events of this year alone- from Egypt to Libya to the massive Earthquake in Japan, these events certainly put a pause in our lives. [I encourage you to donate to organizations that actually give money to where it is supposed to be going] As always, it forces the individual to realize life really is short. But then give them some time and it is back to the status quo.
As for myself, I could probably just list the few things that make me happy (the above images are one of those…:D )which would make it very simple. But life isn’t that simple. For myself, I keep finding myself in an endless pursuit. While the little things- little nephew, the family, and friends, help maintain a positive life for me, I am still searching for my own life’s meaning. There. I said it.
Which is why I love U2’s “I still haven’t found what I am looking for” because.. I haven’t. But, life is an adventure. So I am still looking into the future with a positive mindset. Which leads me to also want to take more personal adventures.
I have always used my solo adventures as an awakening, if you will. I am not alone. Many travelers travel alone for the solitude and introspection. This is my other thing that makes me happy. Travels. Solo adventures.
What about occupation and career related happiness? Uhm.. potential wedding clients read no further as this might put a nail in my “coffin.
Still with me? I love you more.
I don’t want to settle with being “just” or “only.”
I think it is well known and documented and .. behind me in that I wanted to pursue a doctoral degree, and I think it is also known that I want to be a photographer of sorts. To clarify, I see more fun and happiness, for myself, when I don’t single out only one or, even, two realms of pursuits. I will never say that I am not happy photographing weddings, working with undergraduates, graduate students, and professors; far from it. They all have their quirks and bad times.
Kind of like how Bilbo Baggins was still lusting over adventures when he had to handover the ring to Gandalf. I feel a parallel here that if I stop searching for my own happiness, then I will settle and become increasingly complacent.
I hear, or well read about it, all the time- find the one or find the career you will love doing, etc. Okay. Then what? I might be sounding like I am at a age crisis, which, might probably be right. Or. I just haven’t found what I am looking for.
That said, I about to press the button to buy a flight to head to Vietnam and Cambodia at the end of July of this year.
Let me revise my question earlier from, what makes you happy, to what are you doing to continuously maintain the happiness?