“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
– Oscar Wilde
There’s an empty lot near my house owned by a man – whom we will call ‘Anthony’. It’s a very valuable plot of city land and he – Anthony – stubbornly refuses to sell the lot to anyone.
Anthony drives by in his battered old car almost every day. He walks slowly around the full perimeter of the lot only when weather permits. He planted grape vines along the back fence some years ago, and carefully tends to them on his ritualistic daily trip.
The plot also hosts a field of dandelions, a feature not terribly popular with his neighbours obsessed with their pristine lawns. When I watch him walk the land, I feel at peace for some reason. I wonder if that’s what he feels too.
The answer is simply NO
Anthony is in his early 80s and marches on with a bent back, but no cane. He does all the physical work for this property, as well as for the many others he owns in the larger neighborhood. He’s indifferent to sleek city ones who approach him with broad smiles, trying to persuade him to sell.
The earth is his anchor. Why give it up? Another neighbor was sharing with me what she knew of his very humble beginnings of sleeping on the dirt floor, being hungry and neglected. Would money make him happier than surveying his land?
When I see Anthony I wonder: Do we know what makes us truly happy? Are we pursuing the dreams we’re fed, or the ones we own?
Each passing year, I make a conscious effort to remember what makes me truly happy and make sure I have a dose of that every single day. Connection with family or friends, flowers in my garden, the bliss of a summer breeze, a good cup of coffee, or the laughter of a client who has conquered an obstacle.
Every day, I look forward to peeking out my window to catch a glimpse of my neighbor’s vines and weeds, affirming his determination to be happy his own way. What a great reminder to do the same.
So what’s your happiness ritual?
Let me know in the comments below. Your idea may inspire someone else, or make them happy!