Define happiness

I have recently become interested in the definition of words. Most of the words I am interested in relate to emotions or feelings. How we feel about ourselves or just how we feel. How we feel about others and how others impact on how we feel. Confused yet?

I am - you see I seem to have a different definition of some of my feelings than others have for that seem feeling and in fact by their very nature people define these words around their own experiences and circumstances. So when we try to define happiness for instance we have all sorts of experiences and circumstances that help us define that feeling.

The Oxford dictionary defines happiness as:

The state of being happy: e.g. 1) she struggled to find happiness in her life 2) Tom’s heart swelled with happiness

and then there are the Synonyms of happiness: noun her eyes shone with happiness

contentment, pleasure, contentedness, satisfaction, cheerfulness, cheeriness, merriment, merriness, gaiety, joy, joyfulness, joyousness, joviality, jollity, jolliness, glee, blitheness, care-freeness, gladness, delight, good spirits, high spirits, light-heartedness, good cheer, well-being, enjoyment, felicity; exuberance, exhilaration, elation, ecstasy, delirium, jubilation, rapture, bliss, blissfulness, euphoria, beatitude, transports of delight; heaven, paradise, seventh heaven, cloud nine.

These are all very well but what makes us happy? - for a long time my happiness was defined by my "place in the world" I was a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a work colleague and a boss. All these things made me happy. I often saw my life as pretty pedestrian, nothing much happening it just seemed to plod along but that was okay because I was happy. In 2007 all of that changed and I very soon discovered that there was very little that made me happy anymore.

The next eight years continued to offer little in the way of happiness. Fortunately for me I could throw myself into my work which filled the chasm that happiness had left behind when it moved out of my life. Every now and then my beautiful daughters gave me reminders of what happiness was as they grew into amazingly strong women and made a life for themselves but overall happiness seemed to desert me.

Then in 2015 I wrote my book. That was quite an achievement, I finished it the morning of January 1st, 2016. Over the next few months I rewrote it a number of times and with the help of great editor it was finally finished in April. For the first time in a long time I had finished something I had started and suddenly happiness started to fill that gap again. Then, following the advice of a new friend, I took control, stopped waiting for someone else to value what I had done as much as I did and published my book myself. Again an achievement that I was very proud of.

And now we come to the last three months. My book proof arrived - very skillfully videoed by my daughter Leesa - if I had ever wondered what happiness was, that moment certainly defined it for me. Since then we've had Leesa and Jay's wedding, a night that was filled with happiness, not just mine but I think everyone who was there bathed in the joy that these two young people felt as they married in front of their friends and family in a winter fairyland. A few weeks later my mother became very ill. Her recovery was amazing and another example of a great happiness moment.

Spending time with her over the last couple of months has led me here to my new "happy place". For the first time in my life I am living on my own in a pretty little cottage surrounded by amazing views of the bush and the ocean. I have left my stressful and tear inducing job and taken a risk. A risk on myself and I am happy. My experience and my circumstances have given me much to define my happiness and so I can confidently say I am happy. How do you define your happiness?

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