Yesterday I went to the Happy Show at the Museum of Vancouver. It was my first visit to the museum and I would recommend going, they had some great exhibits about the history of Vancouver. I thought the Happy exhibit was excellent, though. It is just here until September but I may try to go again before it leaves.
The exhibit looked at what makes people happy and shares some tidbits from an upcoming movie about this. It is an interactive exhibit that gives you the chance to draw a happy animal, ride a bike to power a neon sign and take a card with a happy challenge on it among other things. One of my favorites was a round table divided into three sections. The three sections were labelled immediate happiness, short term happiness and long term happiness. Visitors were encouraged to write their thoughts on what created these types of happiness on the appropriate section of the table.
This was the section I was most interested in. This is what I want for my life. I want a happiness that is not fleeting. It is pretty obvious as I write this, that a happiness like that can not be based on external factors, because they are temporary. Money, cars, even people come and go from our lives and may or may not be here tomorrow. Some of the things people had written that can bring this long term happiness were Gratitude and courage, Being OK with the unknown – Vulnerability, Self Knowledge and from there self love, and dang it! on your own terms for your own approval.
These really caught my eye and parts of the exhibit seemed to support these. One section was focused on stretching ourselves and stepping out of our routine and even comfort zone to try new things and make new connections. It won’t always work out, but you don’t know until you try and the act of trying can make you happier no matter the results. Sometimes if you don’t try, you will just wonder what would have happened if you had. Some people call this regret.
My journey now is definitely out of my comfort zone, but I think it is about being the authentic me. I feel good about that and it has changed my happiness level for the better. Connection with people is important for happiness, too. Sometimes I worry that being the authentic me and having that connection with others is mutually exclusive because the authentic me is not exactly in line with mainstream society. Maybe that’s where the courage comes in, even if I am not sure and have some worries, I need to just forge ahead and let the results play out. No matter the doubts I have, I am confident that I have chosen the right goal. Long term happiness is ultimately what I am looking for in my life.