February 21, 2016: Days 75 and 76

Evidence of Kim and Garrett, on each side of me,
while we enjoy the backyard fire.

"Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn't stop to enjoy it." - William Feather

Last weekend marked days 75 and 76 of my 90 days off. I have quickly become aware that 90 days isn't as much time as one would think. It is going by fast for me. Too fast.

The weekend was spent visiting friends in St. George, Utah. Craig has been a long-time friend of Garrett's, and Craig's girlfriend, Kim, a new friend to both of us. But as always seems the case with happy and fun people who naturally exude this disposition, it now feels like Kim is another 'old friend' as well.

First let me point out that St. George, Utah is beautiful. I had never been there. The February weather was in the upper 60's. Mountains spiked our every view. And sunlight was abound.

We traveled to St. George from Kingman on Saturday morning and spent two days sharing life with Craig and Kim. We enjoyed a patio lunch, touring the city, an outdoor barbecue, and an awesome hike with our tour guide extraordinaire, Kim.

Kim is truly a professional, working with clients daily at a fitness resort. Her main responsibility is leading hiking excursions in the mountains to help her clients in their quest to become fit. These hikes are many times 'off trail'. We got the off trail version as well, enjoying the Navajo sandstone in the Red Mountains, with Kim as our expert and skilled hiking lead.

Both Saturday and Sunday were full of smiles and happiness. I often thought about Garrett and Craig's long-term friendship, beginning 16 years ago in the foothills of Denver. At the time they were both married to women who didn't have names sounding like Sandy or Kim. If told at the time that in 16 years they would be enjoying life by a fire pit in Utah with noted S and K, they would have thought someone was crazy.

But such is life. Over the course of time, we have all had our share of life changes full of trials and tribulations. Some still continue today for Garrett and I. But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and actually helps in relishing a life full of peace and joy even more.

Before we left for our hike, we had a great conversation on our happiness factor. A term I had heard before, but never discussed.

The conversation started with Craig asking what I was doing with my time off. I started gushing over how much fun I was having spending time with friends and family; filling my days with things and people who bring me joy. We laughed over how one can be more busy when they take time off than when they are working 50+ hours a week.

And then Craig asked for my happiness factor on a scale from 1 - 10. I gave it a 9. Garrett and Craig gave it the same. Some would say this is because we are 'living the dream' with a stress-free life. The reality is that our lives aren't perfect. But we continue to fight the battles put before us and choose happy.

An insight that has become very apparent to me over these last few months is that unhappy people cause us the most stress in life. Bullies are grown from personal unhappiness in one's self. And bullying unfortunately still happens in adulthood. Bullies need to be dealt with, but we can't allow them to gain their quest of robbing us of our own happiness.

Choosing happy and a joyful existence each day with gratitude for all the great blessings God has given us; that is a life well-lived.

Craig gave the best words of advice in how he applies and challenges himself by gauging his happiness factor...

"Be real in your assessment. Look at your happiness factor daily. And if it's off, make changes, starting by looking in the mirror."

(90 Days Off realization #16: Happiness is a choice. Happiness and joy are right in front of all of us. And the ability to be grateful is the greatest source of happiness.)
My vantage point at the end of a great trip.
Another day well lived :)


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