Keeping it Simple on International Day of Happiness
If you’re looking for happiness in life, you can make that quest complicated. You can also keep it simple.
Today we celebrate International Day of Happiness, so I’m offering my advice to keep it simple.
Simplicity is defined as the freedom from complexity, division or
parts. It’s also freedom from deceit or guilt. A rather modest and
straightforward word, simplicity is associated with sincerity or an
absence of pretentiousness.
In our complex, fast-paced and often dissonant world, today marks a
great opportunity for each of us to find happiness, peace and
contentment. And we can do it by remembering to focus on the simple
things in life.
My Simple Happiness: It’s All About the Dogs
In my case, one simple pleasure has always been found in dogs. My
first dog was Brandy, a lovable, slobbery and often excitable boxer. A
bright light to our family, Brandy slept with me and often took up most
of the space on my bed. Did I care that I had to make room for her?
Absolutely not. Her warmth, love and unfeigned companionship was a gift
to my youth.
As the years progressed, I never forgot the simple pleasure I found
in dogs. In fact, the bigger, gentler and more lumbering, the better
they suited me.
our tenth wedding anniversary, I convinced my husband to buy me a boxer
pup. A former paperboy and often chased by dogs during his own youth,
Jimmy was hardly amenable to my suggestion. Despite his initial
misgivings, Jimmy became hooked on the simple pleasures of doggie love,
too. From the moment we brought home 8-week-old Henrietta, whom we
nicknamed Henri, Jimmy discovered the meaning of “man’s best friend” in
this loyal and best behaved dog ever.
In the coming months, Henri grew physically
and matured in spirit and companionship. When our daughter was born,
Henri became Kaley’s self-appointed confidante, playmate and protector.
Kaley’s sixth birthday, my husband and I added Buster to our family. He
was a bruising male boxer with flashy white markings who, as a tiny
puppy, could pull our giant kitchen table out to the lanai if it meant
being closer to us. He was stubborn, suffered from separation anxiety
and possessed escape artist skills rivaling those of Harry Houdini.
Despite all his quirks, Buster became alternately known, and dearly
loved, as “Buddy.”
Henri passed, we were back down to just Buster and I campaigned for the
mother lode of all dogs.
“Are you sure it’s a dog you want and not a
bear?” my daughter asked.
With trepidation on everyone’s part, we
brought home an 8 week old English mastiff to whom we gave the delicate
Lily started out small and cuddly, looking more like a mini panda
when we found her among a litter and chose her as our own. But small and
cuddly didn’t last; she packed on five pounds a week until maxing out
at around 200 pounds.
Fearful of thunder, rain and anything taller than 6 inches in height, Lily
was the one-in-a-thousand mastiffs who would become known as legendary
shedders. Spreading her massive frame in front of the kitchen
refrigerator or at the foot of my husband’s desk chair, she’d sleep
quietly for 20 hours each day, arising to eat, do her business or
claim a 9 pm “treat” before nodding off again for her evening bedtime.
I no longer have my dearly beloved dogs following me around the house,
vying for another walk or longing for their next treat. However, their
memories and the simple joys they brought me remain.
Brandy, Henri, Buster and Lily were some of my life’s simple
pleasures. They made my life bright, more loving and enormously happy.
The joyful experiences they provided me couldn’t be purchased, connived
Finding Simple Happiness in New Ways Today
These days, our daughter’s all grown up and on her own (with her own
dog named Steve, I might add). My husband and I travel a lot, and we
love our newfound freedoms.
Today, I’d be hard pressed to provide the ongoing attention and
consistent support to dogs as I did when spending more time at home.
However, that doesn’t stop me from enjoying similar, simple pleasures.
I still find ways to connect with canines. Wherever I go, whether
along the streets of Manhattan or at the Saturday Farmers Market in
Sarasota, Florida above, I find plenty of momentary canine “buddies” who
can provide me with a dog fix.
Proud owners are generally thrilled when I gush over their prized
hounds, exchange some love and hugs with their furry pets or take a few
random photos and share them on Facebook.
Some dog owners even allow me to walk away with slobber or a bit of
dog hair on my clothing. It keeps things real, simple and happy for me.
Wherever you are, I hope you make International Day of Happiness count for you, too!
For more happiness, download my FREE book of 25 Favorite Happiness Quotes.
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Maura is an International Speaker on Influence, Leadership and Emotional Intelligence.
Visit Maura’s Amazon Author page and secure her 2017 edition releases from her Art of Happiness ebook series.