Are you actually doing what makes you happy? Or just talking about it?
Whenever I called my retired mother, I would listen to her go on and on about her day: going to Bible study, running back and forth to the church, playing for Sabbath church service, feeding the homeless, running the church computer lab — and quite frankly, I got tired just imagining it. How did she have the energy to do it all? I couldn't help but say, "Mom, you sound busier now than when you were working. How are you feeling?"
I heard the smile in her voice. "I'm fine. I mean, some things frustrate me, but I love doing these things. I love history and sharing God's love. I feel good." And there it was. My 77-year-old mother was running with more energy than the Energizer Bunny because she was doing what she loves to do.
And that's the secret that eludes so many others (both young and old) — the secret of how to be happy is doing what you love. In the case of older adults holding on to happiness, those who retire from work and get comfortable sitting around all day at home are less excited, fulfilled and happy. Whereas those who seize the free time to explore the world, try new things or indulge in their interests and passions are so much happier and live more satisfied lives.
One of the key elements of their happiness, however, is the element of choice. That is, those who are happier chose to be happy by doing things and spending time with people who bring them a sense of satisfaction and joy. It's a lesson tempered with maturity. So at any age, the question is, what makes you happy ... AND, will you choose to do it?