The other night I was invited to a friend’s home for dinner.
I knew I needed connection (I may have stunned my friend with how quickly I said YES! to the invitation) and I also knew from experience time with my friend’s family would give me precisely the sense of community and grounding I needed.
As we sat down for dinner (post-hilarity which only happens when I’m involved in food preparation) my friend’s 10-year-old daughter went around the table asking each of us the same question.
“Are you happy?”
I was momentarily stumped.
I was happy in. that. moment.
But was I generally, overall, day-to-day, living with a backdrop of joy and happiness?
I didn’t know.
I don’t know.
Never one to hold up an entire dinner conversation with my navel gazing, I simply responded yes.
But the question remains with me.
It stayed with me as we made our way from dessert to a nearby park (being outside makes me feel happy).
It lingered as I planned a surprise for my 13-year-old the next morning (doing unto others makes me happy).
It was in the back of my mind this morning as I gave a polite but firm NO in response to a favor-request which would have thrown my day off kilter (learning to draw boundaries has contributed to my happy).
“Are you happy?”
It can feel like a question reserved for those of us who have everything else all figured out.
It can feel like a question which comes after everything else, BUT what if we put that question first?
What if, as my friend’s daughter did with dinner, we BEGAN with the question.
If we chose to prioritize our happiness with an awareness all else will fall into place after that?
I’m doing it.
A happier US.