What makes you happy is a very difficult question to answer and one that I therefore side-stepped and passed to the Live Well Now office team to answer. What makes you happy? I asked, and here are some of the responses they came up with:
“A cold beer on a sunny Sunday afternoon”
“The smell of wild garlic while walking in the countryside”
“A flaky, buttery croissant with the first coffee of the day”
“The sound of my daughter’s voice at the end of the telephone” (that one had some of us in tears)
“Fresh linen straight off the washing line”
Well, these are good, and not at all disturbing…and if we push past the Jane Austin-type romanticism (garlic sweetened riverbanks and air-dried cotton sheets, I ask you?), we arrive at a possibly unexpected conclusion: happiness, it seems, is in the “small” things and has nothing very much to do with money.
Of course, our Live Well Now survey is not at-all scientific. But in the countless more credible others, we do not find many people saying that true happiness is to be found in the trappings of wealth. Sure, we would all like an indoor swimming pool at home, and who among us would say no to a diamond encrusted podiatry set? But it seems indisputable (albeit not based solely on this contribution to the research) that even if you own an entire island you do not have to journey further than the vegetable patch at the bottom of your garden to experience real happiness.
Here are some more of the Live Well Now teams’ confessions of what makes them happy:
“Running through puddles in my Arthur Slippers”
“Playing piano in my Revara Sports Gloves”
“Hiding in the understairs cupboard with my Get Up In The Night Light and waiting for my wife to find me (longest wait is 16 hours)”
“Using my Rotating Reacher to pluck apples from the neighbour’s trees”
“Managing to take the stone out of an avocado using my Good Grips Shoehorn”
Yes, happiness is subjective, multifaceted, and not always conventional.
And even if we find ourselves unable to do the things we once did, we still gain from asking what makes us happy, what is meaningful and satisfying in our lives and how might we spend more time doing those things that bring us joy? At Live Well Now we challenge all of us, whatever our age and our capabilities, to make an effort every day to explore the possible and to practice the things that render our lives meaningful and happy.
Because in the small things we don’t only find happiness, we also find wellbeing.