May 12, 2017
So your dad and I have been really into Netflix and we have specifically been into these documentaries. Like, you can basically watch a documentary on any subject imaginable on this thing. I obviously chose to most recently watch one about baby mental health and happiness. The baby mental health one was super cool and really talks about the kinds of conditions optimal for giving a person he best chances at strong mental health coping abilities in their life (which is a huge topic of interest to me) but the happiness one really has stuck with me.
It basically examines the science of being happy and what we need and how we achieve happiness. What I took from it is that there are 2 key ingredients in happy people.
- Family, friendship and strong relationships
The happiest people around seemed to surround themselves with like happy people and spend quality time enjoying the company of others. This is something that I REALLY hope we can instil in you as your dad and I both place a lot of value and meaning into having meaningful relationships. We both love family and we both love being with friends. I fact, the thing we agree that we love least about spending time with people is when you spend time but in a hectic way and you end up literally just seeing the people but not having the opportunity to actually talk and share.
There will likely be a time in your life as there was for us where seeing and being seen will be really important to you. That’s cool. But then as your time becomes more precious and scarce, you will also likely look to spend it in ways that satisfy your soul. Like, I don’t need to physically see people, I need to connect. To catch up and to share some thoughts and feelings. These are the exchanges that bring me happiness and it seems that I’m not alone, by a long shot.
Because I want you to be ever-happy, I want you to also surround yourself with great people. Your family (and especially amazing mom, just saying) and then people who feel like family. Have the time to share and talk and go deep with people. Have the time to laugh with friends about nothing. Or everything.
The other factor in happiness, the activity component, was also pretty interesting. Here’s a fact. I hate working out. HATE IT. I have been doing it in various forms and intensity for about 6 years and I have never learned to really love it. I guess because of my innate need to be social, I’ve always seen working out as a lonely activity and there is not one time I have done it that I wouldn’t rather be sharing a cookie and latte with a friend and just talking.
But after watching this doc, I realized that I really have to shift my thinking because being active (and NOT for the reasons of weight loss or body image shit – that is literally the opposite of what they were trying to convey) is super important to your happiness and the production of dopamine. I’m all over keeping those dopamine levels as high as possible for my entire life.
So it’s activity for the enjoyment of activity. Like taking a walk or a swim. There’s nothing wrong with working out, per say but it’s more the pursuit of activity for activity sake versus the pursuit of a 6 pack body that makes people happy.
I like that. I can get behind that. I can try and reframe my working out into something like that. You should too.
I want you to always be active, get outside, move your body but I never want you o do it because you feel fat or lesser than. I want you to move because moving feels good and jump because jumping is fun. I’d say run but running is so bad for your body so unless you really need to run, maybe stick to something more sustainable. Do yoga, surf, whatever. Just enjoy movement and using your body and never get hung up on how may calories a movement will burn. NOT WORTH IT.
Overall, I just want you to be happy. Always.
As happy as I am because of you.