The sun is streaming brightly through my bedroom window this Sunday AM. The natural beam of light shows me that my hardwood dressers are in need of a little dusting. Granted this is not one of my favorite household chores, but today, the dust cloth will unfold to work its magic.
To be thorough, I carefully pick up each sentimental piece and framed memory and let them effortlessly guide me back to some of the glorious countries we were able to visit and explore as a family.
Traveling has always brought me joy. Few experiences compare to the excitement of finally seeing the landmarks on your dream itinerary, but nothing beats the cultural immersion of living as a local. If only for a brief moment, engaging in a lifestyle different from our own, can provide a glimpse into finding contentment in life.
Discovering the path to happiness is like tracing the topology of a world map. There are many methods to arrive at the final destination and each route presents its own unique journey. Likewise, the definition of happiness varies depending on where you find yourself in the world. The ebb and flow of what constitutes joy reminds us that there is not one fixed way to feel good.
Switzerland was one of my favorite countries to visit. Their definition of happiness can be summed up by the word, “Federerism”, a philosophy named after the great tennis player Roger Federer. The Swiss perspective on finding contentment is all about practicing quiet confidence and humble success. It is reflective of the quote “work hard in silence and let your success be your noise.”
My Dad, who was actually born in Italy, referred to happiness as “dolce far niente”, the sweetness of doing nothing. Relaxation is valued as the ultimate form of bliss in this country. Taking a day off of work mid-week, breaking for a glass of Prosecco at the end of the day or treating yourself to a nap amid a hectic schedule are deemed essential elements of staying happy.
Back home in America, happiness is akin to “homeyness”, a feeling we are all especially familiar with right now. The unprecedented circumstances we face may alter the association between “happiness” and “homeyness” in our lives, but nevertheless, we can still seek comfort in familiarity.
My little family clown car is last to be dusted because of what it symbolizes to me. Even though my Dad flies among the angels now and our adventures have been curtailed, I know that “home” is not restricted to the space enclosed by a roof over our heads. Home is a state of mind, a warm feeling when we are around our favorite people and the essence of what makes us feel safe and connected. The saying, “home is where the heart is” resonates, and I hope that you can all find joy at home in your own life.