What I learned about Happiness, Joy and Friendship on my First Walk-about

My inaugural Hey, Boomer walk-about was with my dear friend Doris McLallen. Doris wanted to walk around the Greer City Park. This is a 12-acre park, and I anticipated an hour or so of active walking and talking.

Doris had designed a more historic agenda for our walk, and I gladly went along with her plan. It began with a short drive into downtown Greer as she was showing me all the building that is going on in that town. Once we got to the park, our walk first took us to a sign that showed the eastern boundary line between the Cherokee Nation and the province of South Carolina from the end of the Cherokee war (1759-61) until 1777, when the boundary was expanded to the Savannah River.

We continued from there to the amphitheater within the park. As we sat down to imagine a performance on the stage, Doris asked me, “what do you do for enjoyment?”

Enjoyment

That question totally caught me off guard. I am the one usually asking questions. I had to think about that. What does enjoyment mean? That is a different question than “what do you like to do?” Could it be reading a book, or did it have to be more active than that? I enjoy going to concerts and dancing. I enjoy time with my kids and grandkids. I enjoy playing with my cat. I enjoy being out in nature. I enjoy working on the Hey, Boomer shows and meeting some of the amazing people that are my guests.  Good question, Doris. Doris and her husband enjoy going to plays. She also enjoys reading, spending time with friends, being out in nature and the spirituality she finds in her church.

When we got up to walk again, we passed a fountain that apparently changes colors to reflect the occasion. Pink for breast cancer awareness, purple for Alzheimer’s awareness, and it will soon be green for Saint Patrick’s Day. Our next rest stop was to a covered porch swing on the other side of the fountain. And it was time for Doris’s next question.  “What do you do to relax?”

Relaxation

True confession, that was a harder question for me. I don’t relax much and when I do, I have to give myself permission to relax. I spend many hours in my office working on Hey, Boomer (finding guests, working on promotions, writing scripts, writing blogs, researching). When I am not doing that, I am doing the chores of daily living (paying bills, cooking, cleaning up, making phone calls). But every once in awhile I give myself permission to relax. That generally involves spending time with people I love or reading just for the fun of it or watching a favorite TV show.

One of the benefits of having a walk-about with friends is that it is also a way to relax, to just be with my friend and not worry about what other thing(s) are not getting done. I have never been a great “relaxer.” Thank you, Doris for helping me to think more about this.

As we continued our walk past the restored train depot and through beautifully restored downtown Greer with its cobbled streets, we got into a discussion about what makes us happy. We agreed that “Happy” is a transitory feeling, it comes and goes. So, the question became, “can a person feel joy, minus the feeling of happiness?”  I had to do more research on this. Here is what I learned.

Joy vs. Happiness

Happiness comes from external factors. Material things, people, places and experiences.

Joy is more of an internal feeling that comes from being at peace with who you are, where you are, and why you are. Joy feels more stable and secure because it cannot be thrown off (like happiness) when something goes wrong.

I believe the answer is that a person can experience the internal feeling of joy, of being at peace with themselves, even when things go wrong, and they may feel sad or disappointed at the same time. What do you think?

Navel Gazing

The funny thing is, Doris told me she was not one for “navel gazing.” She did not spend a lot of time questioning why things are the way they are or why she is the way she is. Navel gazing is one of my favorite things to do. I am very introspective and always curious and trying to learn why things happen the way they do and what can I do about it. Maybe if I “navel gazed” less, I would experience more inner peace, more joy. Hmm, something else to ponder on. 😊

Sunsets and Friendship

We ended our walk sitting on a bench between the charming chapel of the Episcopal Church and the vestry in downtown Greer. The sun was setting over the steeple and we were appreciating the time we had spent together.  When I got home, I got the most beautiful text from Doris. She said, “What is happy? Where can we find joy? For me, a heart to heart on a bench with a friend is a joy … and looking up, a blessing.”

I could not agree more!

7 thoughts on “What I learned about Happiness, Joy and Friendship on my First Walk-about

  1. What a beautiful experience. How much we can learn from each other and from the experience itself. Walks seem to remove the protective wall we have so we can have more open and contemplative conversations. I enjoy and appreciate our friendship. Kathy S

  2. Thanks for sharing Wendy. I enjoyed your walk about story. I agree and have just walked around the block and watched and listened to nature. It is surely a stress buster. There is so much to be grateful for.

    1. Josephine, maybe you would like to schedule a long-distance walk-about. We would each pick the location we want to walk, talk on our phones while we walk and get to know more about each other. Let me know if you might be interested.

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