What’s on Your Happiness List?

D. Sharon Pruitt

What is happiness? That answer can be as different as a fingerprint – unique and personal for every single one of us. I went to a screening, with my friend Terri, the other night to see Project Happiness, which is right up my ally. I joke that I’m a happiness seeker in my Twitter profile – but it’s true – I try to find the best in all situations and the silver lining in anything. I can’t help it – my mother is like that and it rubbed off on me.

The film sought out to answer the huge question “what is happiness?” and although I felt it fell short – it got me thinking and inspired me to think about my own experiences with happiness. (Side note: I liked the book The Happiness Project much better.) I think the problem with the film is that they were looking for one big “aha moment” as Oprah would say. But the thing is – that isn’t going to happen. I’ve always said it’s the little things that make should people happy:

  • An unseasonably warm day
  • Getting an email from an old friend
  • Smiling at a stranger and knowing you just made his day
  • Picking up the latest Harry Potter novel
  • Finding the perfect pair of pumps
  • Eating dark chocolate

These “little” things remind me of a song I used to sing in chorus in grade school. Yep – I’m going there. It is called “Happiness Is” from you’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. (Skip ahead to about 1:30 in the video for the good stuff.)

Here are some of my favorite lyrics:

Happiness is finding a pencil.

Pizza with sausage.

Telling the time.

Happiness is learning to whistle.

Tying your shoe for the very first time.

Happiness is playing the drum in your own school band.

And happiness is walking hand in hand.

Happiness is two kinds of ice cream.

Knowing a secret.

Climbing a tree.

Happiness is five different crayons.

Catching a firefly.

Setting him free.

Happiness is being alone every now and then.

And happiness is coming home again.

Happiness is morning and evening,

Daytime and night time too.

For happiness is anyone and anything at all

That’s loved by you.”

What is on your happiness list? It doesn’t have to be some grand thing – it can be as simple as a smile. I’m serious! Sit down and make your list and let me know what you come up with. 🙂


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4 replies
  1. Romy
    Romy says:

    It’s interesting. I saw this movie in New York the other night and I disagree with you. I think that the film asked the question “what is happiness” but in the end we discovered that you have to define it for yourself. I also read The Happiness Project and I felt that was more a guideline for doing some personal work on myself but it also seemed very basic (I do a lot of self help work).

    I was also impressed that the filmmakers didn’t just stop after the film. The book and organization seem to be making a difference in young people. I am just so happy that we live in a time where we are having this discussion and we have so many tools available to us!

    My list:
    * Time with my dogs
    * Tea with my sister
    * Shoe shopping!
    * Reconnecting on Facebook with old friends
    * A wonderful yoga class

    • List Producer
      List Producer says:

      Hi Romy! Maybe we were in the same screening! Soho House? Anyway — I know what you mean — you’re probably right. As a producer — I had so many issues with the production that I didn’t feel the message came across as much as I would have liked. But I’m a total believer in happiness nonetheless! I love that you shared your list! Thank you! Oh yeah – yoga is on mine too, for sure 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting! Talk soon 🙂

  2. Laura
    Laura says:

    Okay, I thought about it, and here’s my short and sweet happiness list:

    *Hearing the sound of the ocean
    *Hearing my friends’ kids call me “Auntie Laura”
    *Laughing with old friends
    *Laughing with new friends
    *Dancing like no one’s watching!

    And I’ll be happy when this long work week is over!
    Thanks for giving me something lighthearted to think about during a hectic time.


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