As part of the Legacy Project, we conducted a national survey of older people. I recently was looking through the hundreds of lessons these elders provide, and I was struck by one particular point. When it comes to happiness, many of the elders urge us to “think small.” They are thankful for what they have, right now, rather than pinning their happiness on future achievements or possessions. I’m thinking that many younger people could benefit from this perspective.
Here are five simple pieces of advice for happier living:
Everybody says that you should make a goal in your life, but I don’t think that’s always necessary because you make a goal and the first thing you know, you switched over to something else. All I wanted to do was be a mother, and I did. I had three boys and three girls and my husband made a living for us, we did fairly well, all of our children are still living and they’re happy, so I’m happy. (Roseann, 79)
Every morning when I wake up, I thank God that at 75 years old I’m able to get up, take my shower, go about my business, by my groceries or go to work or whatever I do, I’m very thankful for that. (Lavonne, 75)
Just take life in stride, I guess, do the best you can. Enjoy, if you can afford it, living; going out and treating yourself to a few luxuries, like maybe going out to dinner, going for a ride, or something like that. (Abel, 77)
Be grateful for each day that you wake up. (Roman, 84)
To live a decent life, a comfortable life, and that basically makes me happy. (Luann, 81)