Sarah | Community Stories | Madison Community Discourse

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When you first said ‘your happiest moment’, I started thinking of specific moments in time when you think ‘well, this was a really good feeling, or this was a really good event, but when I think of what happiness has started to mean to me, it’s more of a phase.  And so, I think that I’ve felt the most happiest in my own skin when I quit my job and my career to pursue building my business.  And I think it was the combination of doing something that was so scary to me and so shocking to people who were doing the more traditional thing in my life, and that really started to feel comfortable and real to me.  And so, I don’t think that I knew what happiness was most of my life.  I think I was always in survival mode and i think I was always trying to find the perfect answer of what life should be like.  And especially after my momdied, it was more so.  It was like, okay, this is what I should be doing, this is what my life is supposed to be like.  I’ve got to finish school, get a house, get married, get a job, be successful, blah blah blah.

But it always felt like zombie-mode.  And so I think when I started to own my life and start to make some decisions, I think that it took me living as an adult for ten years that way, and all of sudden I realized that it doesn’t have to be this way.  It really doesn’t.  ANd my mom had been gone for a long time, and it was the first time I could realize and have the inkling that I could make my own choices for myself, it wasn’t what everybody else was telling me. It wasn’t what she was telling me.  It wasn’t what my family was telling me. It was like I could actually say no to all that.

So I think when I made that decision to do all that, I came to be in one of the happiest times of my life.  It’s mine and I’m doing something even if other people don’t think it’s right.  I’m starting to understand who I am and own that. And it’s not always happy, sometimes its very stressful, but overall that’s what happiness is to me.  Truly experiencing all those feelings and all of those emotions that happen with existing versus just doing because that’s what you’re supposed to do.

I feel like people feel think that happiness is supposed to be this really good feeling that happens you’re going to feel joyful all the time, and that’s not what it means to me.  I think it means being true to yourself.

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We are interviewing 200 people all over Madison to create a ‘portrait’ of happiness.  If you are interested in being interviewed, please email madisoncommunitydiscourse [at] gmail.com.

To see the full portrait, please visit our home page.

Barbara | Community Stories | Madison Community Discourse

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“Well, right away I thought of the happiest moment of my life,  I thought of my daughters.  But actually, I was also thinking that I think I am extremely happy with where I am with my life.  I think that knowing that things don’t have to be perfect.  I feel like I have completed a career, 41 years in social work, and retired.

I am building my business, Mary’s Daughter, where I am paying bills for seniors and veterans. And my thing is being able to do it out of love and giving, versus out of a need to support myself.  I no longer have that as a priority because that’s been taken care of because I’ve been planful.  So there’s a sense of contentment. I’m an optimistic person to begin with, but it feels really really great right now. Waking up and having my day be my day, and enjoying and appreciating the ability to support other people and their goals. So I’m feeling very inspired and very happy.  I went to the gym today and worked out and even with some aches and pains, pushing through it, and being able to do what I need and want to do.

I feel like I’m at a good place to realize that happiness.  I’m 65, so still young enough to appreciate and see that there’s lots that I can be doing, but there’s no need to push. So people call that an encore entrepreneur or a retiree rebel, and all of us are bounding together to show people that you can do nothing and enjoy life and travel and all that, and that’s cool, or you can do some things that continue the work you started, but do it at your own pace and in your own way.  I mean, how freeing it that?  So, life is good.”

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We are interviewing 200 people all over Madison to create a ‘portrait’ of happiness.  If you are interested in being interviewed, please email madisoncommunitydiscourse [at] gmail.com.

To see the full portrait, please visit our home page.