With the new year underway I find myself reflecting on the holiday cards I received in 2014. As I take them off my wall, I reread the messages sent wishing me “joy in the holiday season” and “Happy New Year”. I can’t help but wonder, what does it truly mean to be happy?
As human beings, I feel that we can’t help but to measure our happiness through our successes. We determine our joy and our self worth based on what we own, rather than the relationships we build and the memories we make. This is why we always want more despite all of our achievements.
And like with many of the questions that I ask in my life, I find the answer in my dogs.
Last week Jon and I took Bolo out for a run and as it came to a close, the two of them began a game of fetch. As Jon threw the ball into the air, I watched Bolo leap for it, catching it right in her mouth in a moment of triumph. I couldn’t help but giggle at the expression on her face as I snapped a photo. It was a real moment of pure happiness. Though it was a simple, and possibly insignificant moment, it was a big moment for Bolo and she bounded back to Jon, tail wagging, anxiously waiting for the next throw.
Maybe that’s just it. Maybe those that are the happiest are those that find their joy in the same way that dogs do: by living in the moment. Dogs don’t stress over anything that happened yesterday, and they don’t experience anxiety over what might happen tomorrow. They focus solely on what they are doing in that moment without any distractions getting in the way; they just keep their eye on the ball.
For a dog to be happy, all they need is that one game of fetch, a pat on the head, or a few words of encouragement and affection. For a dog, it’s the little things that make a big difference.
I often come to the realization that the moments spent with my dogs are the moments when I am the happiest. Whether it’s a morning walk through the park, that moment when they catch the ball, or having them fall asleep at my feet after a long day, it’s time spent with them that I am the most content, and that may be because a dogs joy is the most simple and the most honest. It is easy to relate.
This year rather than make a million resolutions that I will not keep, I will make the resolution to keep my eye on the ball and find my happiness. I have come to learn, is that happiness is a state of mind that I can control at any moment during the day. Happiness is a choice…a decision that one must make every day. It is a “moral obligation”. Everyone that we come in contact with deserves an experience that will leave them feeling better about themselves than they felt before interacting with us. This can only happen when one chooses to be happy and to exhibit the behaviors of a happy person.
As I watch my daughter make her way through her teen years, continue to build a business with my husband, and snuggle up with my dogs at the end of the day, I know that this is a resolution I will be able to keep and I look forward to what this year will bring.