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When Being Happy in the Now Catches You Offguard

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I recently had a conversation with my Gen Z daughter. She is both a source of inspiration and consternation to me and I have written many stories about our chats, our strong debates, and our quiet moments. Today a conversation on happiness ensued. Welcome to our world:

Me, while putting together a large green vegetable salad in our tiny kitchen: "I am so happy, I don’t know why but I am feeling happy. This is the happiest I have been in the last few years."

Gen Z, on the couch, gorging on some Netflix-and-single chilling: "Really?"

Me: "Yes…..For no reason that I can put my finger on… The last time I remember feeling like this was when I used to work in my plant nursery, puttering around all day, with the sun on my skin and my hands deep in the soil."

Gen Z: "Oh really, so what about….O never mind for we will begin a huge debate and I am busy doing something."

Me, pushing the envelope, perhaps wanting to come out of my happiness bubble: "What were you going to say?"

Gen Z, sighing and turning towards me: "I was going to ask if you did not feel happy when you gave birth to me?"

Me, sighing louder than Gen Z: "That was different. Of course, I was happy. I was ecstatic. I looked at your tiny face, your 12 fingers, and 10 toes and felt blessed beyond measure."

(Yes she was born with 12 fingers, I was born with 11; we both still have the scars from the removal of the extras.)

Me, continuing: "The happiness I am referring to now is one that did not come from some grand event like your birth. I was not referring to the times when we are happy because something great happened in our lives, like a graduation, first job, first house, first car, first wedding…..I am talking about a happiness, the cause of which cannot really be determined. It starts somewhere deep in the belly and bubbles upwards and outwards, touching on all the parts of our physical and energy bodies, creating an unexplained sense of well-being……"

Gen Z, cutting me off, she had already detected my mounting that infamous soapbox: "Ok, Ok, Mother… I hear you…. I understand. I hope that one day I can find a sourceless source of happiness like yours."

I left the salad making and went to give her a quick hug. She eye-rolled me, turned away, and went back to her show, I went back to my cooking. The feeling stayed with me the entire day. I felt blessed and abundant. I was grateful. This type of happiness is the kind that money cannot buy nor can anyone steal from us. It stems from being satisfied in the now, grateful for our blessings, accepting of our trials, and giving thanks in it all.