Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Happiness what is it?

This is a rhetorical question and I do realize that.  When I was in college writing classes, we, as students, were told to avoid the rhetorical questions when writing.  I never understood why, still don't.

Very few of us take time to ask what truly makes us happy.  Probably because many people are too busy running the kid or kids to basketball, football, recitals, play dates and the entire gauntlet of what we think we are supposed to do instead of what we'd truly like to do.  When young, we don't plan for a career in a job we might really enjoy going to every day.  Instead, we run a rat race of jobs just to bring in money to pay our bills, mostly jobs we hate.  I say we, but I did find work that was truly satisfying to me.  A career of helping others because when I needed help as a single mother, there was the hint of helping when all the while it was simply adhering to a set of fixed rules to just earn a paycheck.  How unsatisfying that must be for too many people.

Sometimes we think happiness is a cell phone glued to our ears, a video game controller in our hands or a computer screen in front of our face.

My husband and I live in Indiana right now.  After years of working in the Social Work field, I foolishly decided that I missed my state of origin, New York.  We moved back there, to the Finger Lakes area and were there for a period of five years.  Don't get me wrong, the Finger Lakes is a beautiful area but unfortunately, beauty does not pay the bills.  The cost of living since 2008 has gone through the roof.  We are retired and in those five years of struggling, realized we were merely surviving and not living.  We came to the conclusion that New York was no longer home for us.  Maybe the saying: 'You can never go home again': applied to us in that situation.   We lived in, what I liked to call, a dumpy trailer for about three years.  It was chilly in winter and hot in summer.  Being an older trailer, it felt like living in a tin can in hot, humid weather.  There was air conditioning, but little insulation so the conditioners were not very effective. Finally, we wised up and moved back to Indiana.  Yes, we have a bad governor, but, then, so does New York.  For the most part, people are friendly and it is a whole lot cheaper living here.

We recently moved into a 'new' old house, a house that is affordable, one we could not have afford in New York.  We would pay as much for a cramped apartment in New York, but that's not my idea of happiness.  Here we have a lovely backyard and one of the best vegetable gardens we've had in years.  We are already picking tomatoes and zucchini for our table.  We adore gardening and love it even more when we reap the benefits of fresh vegetables each night for meals. 

                          Garden when first planted

                            Garden close to maturity

I also love planting flowers and we were fortunate enough to inherit peonies and rose of Sharon bushes.  The bushes are flowering now and look beautiful.  I planted four o'clocks from seed and sowed wild flowers and morning glories from seed.  Now it is high summer and all are thriving.

                         Peonies in May

                         Four O'clocks planted from seeds

                         Kentucky Wonder pole beans

                                   Our patio fountain
                          Patio flower box     

Whatever happiness means to you, I hope you find it and hope you stop to smell the flowers along the way.