And then I had a run of, what I refer to as 'Job' years.
If you spent a lot of your youth at Sunday School like I did you'll know what I'm referring to. Job was an Old Testament character who had been just going along living his life when he got in the middle of something between God and Satan and ended up having trial after trial happen. Sickness, deaths, and a range of other problems until he cursed the day that he was born.
Okay, I certainly haven't had it as bad as that but the last five years have had their share of road bumps that have put a dent in my happiness quotient and made me really question what it takes to be a happy person.
What I've come up with is that happiness is often an attitude. Looking at the positives in situations rather than focussing on the negatives. Appreciating the good things - and there are plenty of those if you choose to look for them. Happiness isn't material. It can't be bought. It's in the relationships that you build and in doing for others.
This last weekend was chock-full of happiness for me.
It started at the ridiculous hour of 3:15am on Saturday after only a couple of hours of sleep. My first 4:00am long run. I'm not sure if I was giddy with excitement or fatigue but I wasn't going to miss out on this little bit of crazy. And I'm not sure how Coach Chris managed to convince our group that it was more than reasonable to be out of bed running in the dark at that hour but a pretty good sized group was at our meeting spot ready to tick off the 28k (or longer for some).
I had two special moments on that run. I ended up running the last 7k by myself. Heading back along the river the sun was rising on a beautiful clear morning and the sky was spectacular. I was wishing I'd brought my phone along to take a photo so I could share the moment when I ran past a man who was walking the other way, missing the spectacle behind him. He said hello and I said hello back then gushed about how beautiful the sunrise was. He turned around and even though I hadn't gotten a photo, I had been able to share the moment with a complete stranger.
The second special moment came at the water stop at the uni when I ran into one of the regulars that we see walking around the area. I'd heard just that morning that his wife had died suddenly so I took the opportunity to express my condolences. His eyes filled with tears and he told me how it had all happened. It was a privilege to be able to listen and let him express his grief and shock. I know it's not exactly what I'd normally include in a post about happiness but just being able to give someone a sympathetic ear in the hard times can be such an important thing to do.
Sunday had its share of happy moments too. Watching a friend finish her first ever half marathon was great. We managed to catch her three times around the course (and have a delicious coffee - thank goodness she wasn't doing the 10k) then saw her after she'd finished. Her excitement and pride in her achievement was infectious.
|What a great achievement! And she made it look easy.|
Then there was a post-honeymoon catch up of the bridal party over a barbecue lunch. The barbecue was a bit of a bust with dodgy equipment that we didn't trust had cooked our meat well enough to avoid food poisoning. But the salads and slightly molten cheesecake were delicious and it doesn't hurt to go vegetarian once in a while. Honestly, it wouldn't have mattered if there was no food - the company was why we were there. Hours of talking and laughing. Getting home with aching cheeks because I'd smiled so much. That's the sort of thing that makes me happy.
Then finally spending the evening with all the family (except Sam's girlfriend Hannah who was here last weekend but is back in Sydney) over fish and chips in front of the television. The couches full to overflowing. More talking. More laughing. Then sitting with Serena (Josh's girlfriend) teaching her the basics of knitting. It's moments like this that make the mother in me content and satisfied with my life.
So I want to know what were the moments this weekend that made you happy?