How do you define happiness?
What really makes you happy? It’s a tough question, isn’t it? And even when we think we know what will make us happy, we’re surprised by the lack of emotion once we get it.
Happiness is when your life fulfills your needs. It’s not a given; never a given. And truly, how much happiness you find depends on your needs. What will make you happy? I used to think it was stuff. Things. A bigger house. Better car. A promotion.
I loved my job at channel 2. It was fun, informative, emotionally fulfilling, creative. It was what I always thought it would be.
Until it wasn’t.
Let me explain.
When I started at Channel 2, I was a behind the scenes kind of gal. I really enjoyed the writing, setting up stories, digging for answers – that kind of stuff. Then one day, my news director asked me to start doing some stories. Before I knew it, I was reporting on the weekends. It was fun. I was working alongside some of the best reporters and photographers in the business.
After a few years, I was put on the morning show. It was a good opportunity to show my personality a bit. It really was fun. But, I was also a single mom with two little girls. That created a mountain of challenges.
In case you don’t know – being a single parent is the toughest job around. Being a single parent and leaving the house by 3 am – that’s just insane.
But, I made it work. I don’t know how. But, I did.
And I worked hard. I went in early. Stayed late. Went above and beyond. At least that’s how I remember it.
A few years after starting on the morning show, I met Scott. Actually I met him, thanks to that morning show.
My producer, Judy Moore (LOVE HER) sent me to cover a story. There was a television pilot being shot on Elmwood Avenue. Some musician guy was playing the lead role.
Yep. That was that. 🙂
Things were going great – and then I decided I wanted to be an anchor and I sort of set my sights on that. Well, scratch that, I wanted to be an anchor and a reporter. I wanted to be able to continue telling stories, but also have a show to call my own. And I did; I was given the 11 a.m. show. It was fantastic. I was sure that it would make me super happy.
And it did. For a minute or so.
Don’t get me wrong. I am very, very appreciative and thankful to my news director for the opportunity. It was fun and – like every other experience in my life – good and bad – it helped me to be the person I am today.
But there is a big difference between attaining a goal and finding happiness.
Sometimes you can achieve both together.
But for me, it was a great experience and now I was ready to find a new one. A new challenge. A new goal. Something else to work for. So, I decided on Totally Buffalo. It’s been wonderful.
Yes, there are many things that make me feel happy – my husband, my kids, giving back to the community, and so on. But being happy and finding happiness really are two different things.
What I’m doing is including Totally Buffalo in my happiness finding arsenal. I’ve enjoying talking to folks, telling their stories, sharing their strength. I’ve enjoyed putting together our Totally Buffalo Festival; meeting so many amazing people. Now, working on our Christmas Festival – it’s beyond fulfilling.
There are challenges and obstacles. I always tell myself nothing is ever perfect – so you have to really soak in the perfect moments here and there – and let that be enough. And it is.
Remember – Happiness is when your life fulfills your needs. I had new needs. So, I had to continue my journey.
You can change course anytime, too. No need to listen to societal norms or expectations. Some people thought I was crazy leaving my job. I was just happy they let me out of my contract! You can change things up at any age. In fact, age is immaterial: a happy person does not subscribe to ageism. He or she is wise enough to know that years have nothing to do with it. It’s all about attitude. It’s about remaining positive.
It’s about refusing to beat yourself up. It’s about laughing. Did you know that people who have a good sense of humor, who don’t take themselves incredibly serious, live happier lives?
And yes, I know that bad things happen and life can be sad, lonely, depressing, and scary. Believe me, I know that; all of it. And you can let yourself be sad. Be scared. Be lonely. Grieve. Just try and come back to the happy parts, too. Choose happy, even in small bits sometimes.
To find happiness, you need to know where to look. You need to know how to take responsibility for yourself. You need to check the guilt and find the light. And, you need to realize that taking care of your happiness does not make you a selfish, shallow, me-me type. Instead it makes you better able to contribute to life and to those around you. It makes you better.
A better wife. A better mom. A better friend.