My dad figured out new ways to be happy in his life. He explored various avenues for his creative talent. He learned about lapidary and silversmithing before and after he retired from his career as a high school business teacher. This creative portion of his lifetime spanned about 10 years. He didn’t know anything about the subject when he started and in the end he had created works that will carry into future generations. The struggle was in the learning process and even after he settled on this pursuit, he wasn’t sure it was the answer.
I remember him saying, “What makes a happy life?” I was a teenager at the time and I had no idea. I was still trying to figure out where I fit into the world. He would answer the question by saying, “You have to figure out what makes you happy and then do that.” Dad was right. It takes some figuring to know what that is.
Two sides of my brain are at odds with each other. The side that analyzes and reasons tries to figure out the details of whether my interests deserve or are worthy of enjoyment and appreciation. The creative side feels happiness free of the challenge of details and obstacles.
Dad would examine his creations and determine whether it was made well. Did he do a good job soldering? Were there any rough edges? He was his worst critic (as we often are) and sometimes would show a piece to Mom & I thinking it wasn’t very good. We had different criteria for determining it’s value. Did we like how it looked? Would we want to wear it?
The real question is: Was Dad happy creating jewelry? He struggled with the process of learning. He made mistakes and was frustrated. He had success and was pleased with his work. Through it all, I never remember him judging himself. He accepted his ability as he gained knowledge.
I believe the key to being happy is self acceptance and self love. It is knowing with your heart and not your head when you are happy.
We go through our day making choices and feeling one way or another. I think the key is to realize we deserve and are worthy of being happy no matter what the challenges or how much we achieve. Self acceptance and love allows us to be natural and… happy.
I love having the jewelry my Dad made and it makes me happy to wear it. Not because of the object, but because of the love that went into creating it. My Dad never told me he loved me , it wasn’t in his nature to say those words. I chose now to feel the love when I treasure his creations. I also know he enjoyed making them. The combination of the love he put into his art and the gifts he left for me communicate love. I figured out that’s one important thing that makes me happy.