I don’t know what it is, but lately I’ve been dragging. It’s probably a combination of things – the crap I put into my body last week/weekend, the heat we had up until Monday, traveling, etc. Whatever it is, I’m ready for it to be over. I hate that my mind and body aren’t functioning at the level they usually do.
But this post isn’t meant to be a series of complaints or “woo is me” entry. Rather, it’s about the unexpected times that happiness comes out of nowhere.
After spending most of Tuesday by myself in the car and in a hotel room for work, I ventured out for dinner. Instead of taking it to go (as is my norm, since who really likes to sit at a restaurant solo?) I decided to sit down and eat. Actually, I’d fully intended to leave until I picked up my bag of food.
For whatever reason, though, I sat in a booth, read their weekly town newspaper and loved every minute of it. The local restaurant was so adorable, and sitting next to me was a group of 8 people in their 70s, chatting about anything and everything. Just being in the midst of people who genuinely seemed to be enjoying their company was contagious. I left the restaurant with a smile on my face, feeling refreshed and at peace.
Then today I was really dragging. Iced coffee didn’t help. A sugar-free red bull didn’t help. A workout didn’t help. All I could think about was getting home and going to bed. But an hour with my mentor changed my whole tune. (The sad thing is I almost didn’t want to go since I was feeling so tired. What a mistake that would have been!) It was just so great to chat with her, to be inspired and have a close connection with someone. And it’s not like our conversation was life-changing. All I needed was that connection, that special one-on-one time.
Sometimes I think I underestimate or forget the power of social interactions (which I’ve read is the top way to increase your happiness) and the simple things that can bring you happiness in your everyday life. Actually, the first section of that Happy book I talked about a couple weeks ago was “Happiness is a Crowded Dinner Table.” At least for me, it couldn’t be more true. Some of my best time spent in recent years is having a chat over coffee or dinner or a drink. Most of the time I don’t even have to be doing anything. Just sitting across from a family member or friend is all the joy I need.
I read in a book a few weeks ago that the most important thing you can give someone is time. I’m starting to see that more and more in my own life. I pack my schedule with responsibilities and things that presumably make me happy – working, working out, reading, organizing, etc. Socializing often falls at the bottom of the list, and I think that’s a shame. This week of not having the energy to go at warp speed gave me another one of those reminders that the happiness project shouldn’t be so much about planning and doing. Happiness is really about enjoying the people around you and what you already have in life.
You’d think someday that message would sink in once and for all…