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What does happiness mean for you? What makes you feel fulfilled and joyful? I feel that there are many answers to this question since your idea of happiness and mine are different, but we also might find similarities as well.

I have loved seeking and exploring my happiness since I was a child.  But what really does make you happy? When you meet with friends or family? When you get a job? When you find a book that makes you really excited? Discovering what happiness means to you is vital to understanding yourself.

The other day after a long week, my friend asked me to go for a drink  and go dancing at the club because that makes her happy. She loves drinking and dancing when she feels tired. I wish I could have joined her, but I said I wanted to stay at home because, honestly, dancing and drinking at the club is not relaxing at all for me. Having a drink at home and watching a movie is what makes me feel happy and comfortable. It does not mean that her preference is wrong because there is no right or wrong way to spend your leisure time. Maybe next time, I will join her. In Japanese, there is an expression to explain this situation:

十人十色  or, juunin toiro, which means “ten people, then colours,” essentially that everyone has a different interest, preference, opinion, and taste.

Growing up in the big city Tokyo, I would see new attractive products and advertisements tempting me to buy stuff. I purchased many things every single day and felt happy. My room would be packed with new items and they filled my space, shrouding the emptiness.

Then I started questioning myself: Is this what it means to be truly happy? The answer came when I arrived in Canada. I was an international student and went to a language school. Surely, I did not have much money to buy stuff here. Instead of going shopping and eating outside, I went to the park, hiked, walked by the beach, and had parties at a friend’s house.

Victoria is the place where you can enjoy life without using your money much. If you walk a mile, there are many marvelous ocean views. I spent more time outside — I was trapped in this beautiful, wild nature of Canada.

I then found myself enjoying life without getting many things, in other words, I felt happy without all the stuff I thought I needed to buy.

In noticing what happiness means to you, you can see the world differently. Just take a moment and think about your happiness. What is important is that we listen to our inner voice about what makes us happy and feel relaxed. Perhaps, you can start thinking about what happiness means to you.

New Voices

This article was written by a new author as part of our mentorship program.

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