This week we’ve been talking about working toward happiness as well as epitaphs (it was national “plan your epitaph day” this week). Those two subjects may not seem relatable in a sentence, but they more or less DO relate. Some of you shared what you’d want on your epitaphs. Some were comical and some were sentimental. I thought long and hard about what I’d want on mine but found I thought more about what I wanted the “dash” in the middle of my dates to represent. What would make my life worthwhile..happy.
The definition of happy is different to everyone. It can mean how much money they make. What house they live in. What fills their homes. Vacations. Or maybe you’re like me and it is more about relationships than any of the subjects aforementioned. For me, happiness, or success if you will, has been defined in different ways at various stages of my life. Growing up, my family didn’t look, on paper, successful. I grew up on welfare, living in an apartment, taking little to no vacations. Many of my school friends lived in single family homes and had designer clothes. They took vacations and went to dance school and summer camp. While I sometimes felt slighted, I never felt unhappy or like my family was unsuccessful. My childhood, for the most part, provided me all I needed: food on the table, clothes on my back, a roof over my head, but most of all, a family that loved me and good friends (many of whom I’m still friends with).
As I got older, success to me was graduating high school despite 3 years of summer school. Success was making changes in my life that didn’t involve people who brought harm, in one fashion or another, to me. Then it became about being work…being promoted to a management position and getting my own apartment at the age of 19. My husband and I purchasing our home was monumental (cartwheels in the living room after we made settlement monumental), having never lived in a house. Moving forward, I held jobs that allowed me to excel in different fields and eventually I built a direct sales business where I was celebrated by achieving many accolades over 16 years. Those moments have given me feelings of happiness or success over the years. However, the biggest sense of pride in my life are the relationships I have nurtured and held close to my heart. All of the people in my life; my incredible husband of 23 years, my 18 year-old son that has given my life purpose, my loving family, not to mention a collection of friends that are there for me whenever called upon; are what make my life worth living. I aspire to do all I can to let them know how much they mean to me…to let them know how detrimental they are to my happiness, though not solely responsible for it. These are what make my life happy….successful.
While I have no plan to be put into the ground at the end, I still have a line that I’d want people to associate with me, to remember me by. Being the avid music fan that I am, loving lyrics, like I do, I had to borrow a line from a beloved Beatles song and it is this:
“The love you take, is equal to the love you make”.