Sometimes we are happy and do not know it. Sometimes we are miserable and think we are okay. In the almost decade and a half that I have worked across the country I have stepped into all kinds of homes. I have entered homes in Boston, homes on O'ahu, homes in New York, Massachusetts and in Connecticut with humility and a desire to empower the child or children I'd be working with. It is always an honor to be tapped to work with someone or their child. A part of the coach's way goes into the student and a part of the student goes into the coach.
Well, what I have found is that being 'happy' has nothing to do with being financially rich. Some of the happiest people I have known have almost nothing and some of the most discontented people have.. it seems... everything. Having had had everything materially and financially as a young child and then seeing it all disappear was an eye-opener for myself. I am able to reflect on the cohesiveness and life of my family from 'having it all' to giving my 'newspaper-boy' money to my Mom to pay groceries. The happiest times had nothing to do with my Dad's sports car, or the summer vacations, the 'good' schools, or the nice clothes. Those things are nice but they do nothing for the heart. Sometimes those 'good life' things and activities are distractions.
What my heart values most was the 'down times' with my family where we shared time together. I remember my eldest sister having us put on performances for my parents, I remember playing chess with one of my grandfathers. I remember the look on my grandmothers face as she served me breakfast when I'd sleep over at her house. I remember the sounds of the extended family all together for a 'comida en casa de Mami.' I remember my Dad cheering me on in a football game or us bringing pastries to the Military Police on the base where the football games were played, I remember the nurturing, caring aspect of Mrs. Huntley, my 2nd grade reading specialist teacher. I remember my conversations with my aunts and uncles and all the special times interacting with my sisters.
None of these times needed to be purchased. They were all people being warm-hearted with people, giving and receiving of themselves to each other. It had nothing to do with financial wealth or position in life.
Let me tell you a quick story. A parent I have known well and was financially rich once dropped off one of her children at a play date. I was in the vehicle when this was happening. The house of the family hosting the playdate seemed like a 2 room cottage. It was smaller than small. Well, upon coming back into the car, I noticed that the parent was a bit emotional, maybe teary-eyed. She said that the place was so small, the laundry was being folded by the parents and there was not a place to sit. ...then she said something to the effect that the parents seemed so happy there... helping each other... being there for one another... in their small home, with all their kids. The parents comment hit home for me validating what my gut knew. Money does not buy happiness. It may purchase comfort and that is nice, yet it by no means purchases lasting contentment or rest for the heart. Those things are done freely by people caring for one another and simply being in each others lives. Back in the small home the notion that came across is that these parents folding the laundry were together. The husband was with the wife helping her take care of the house. The wife was with the husband helping him take care of the family. Wether they knew it or not, they were happy.
If I wait around until my bank account is just right, or the president finally calls on me so that I can then say I am happy, then I will not be happy. I'd rather have the happiness that includes making others truly happy. I'd rather have the happy that is not about me deriving pleasure from an awesome vacation, but spending time with those whom matter the most. I'd rather have the happy that comes from making it better for others. Somehow making it better for others provides sustenance for the heart. It lets you then rest well at night and rise nicely in the morning.