There was a day this year that I experienced what they call a "perfect day". This was what I posted on Facebook:
4 June 2018: Happy today. A perfect day. Slept enough. Ate well. Cycled to east coast under beautiful weather. Wind in hair, music in ears. Indulged in a new hobby - drone videography. Created a short clip, had fun. Spent time with family.
That day got me thinking about what brings me true joy and happiness. Since I'm doing the whole year-end reflection thing, I thought this might be useful to ask: What are the conditions for joy and happiness, in my life? What can I do more of (next year and beyond), so that there's more joy and happiness?
Here's my latest version:
😇Happiness formula (v1.2):
🌤+enjoying the world
💑+time with people you love
🏋🏻+being challenged, out of comfort zones
💵+enough money, food, shelter
Initially, I started off with the first 7 items (version 1.0) - self-care, hobby fun, create creatively, enjoying music, enjoying the world, time with loved ones. Reflecting deeper, version 1.0 was more towards a formula for joy. I believe happiness includes some measure of pain and hardship too. So I added the next 2 items (v1.1) - being challenged out of comfort zone, and heartbreaking experiences.
That's a counterintuitive move. You'd think that cultivating happiness means avoiding pain. That's mostly true only on the most superficial/physical level I feel. It's easy to see why if we had experienced pain, we can be more grateful and happy when we are pain-free. When we are in pain, we can look forward in hope of a future when the pain subsides and happiness arises again. So one cannot exist without the other, kind of like yin and yang of Taoism.
On a deeper, more spiritual level, our soul needs growth to be happy. Growth often comes with discomfort, and at times, being heartbroken (whether in love or life). My favourite poet Kahlil Gibran had these words for pain:
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that contains your understanding.
I just relooked at the list and realised I left out the basic foundations to be able to achieve the v1.1 list -having enough food, money, shelter - basically, the basics. These provide the foundation for the other items to flourish. And I'm grateful for them.
So what's your happiness formula?