If you’re happy and you know it, sometimes clapping your hands, stomping your feet, smiling in joy and excitement is not so well received.

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I wake up mornings excited about getting out of bed, starting the day. My parents taught me how precious a new day is. Not to be wasted, to be approached as an adventure, an education, a gift from God our creator. A good night’s sleep helps make everything look rosier too. Being physically, spiritually, mentally fit requires daily health maintenance to savor life with those around us.

But sometimes your happiness, that is an inside job, not obtained from outside sources for lasting contentment can get a kink in the hose.

Other people who are not such happy campers don’t share the just glad to be alive, make the most of what you have attitude of enthusiasm. I have been whistling or humming a song as I trot in to the local post office and had more than one person grumble “what are you so happy about”. I don’t apologize but smile, take time to find out why they are so blue, to cheer them up. If I can.

But not everyone wants or knows how to be happy.

True joy is the result of a grateful heart. You can not achieve rich, lasting personal happiness without gratitude for how fortunate you really are. Don’t let unhappy, ungrateful people steal your joy. No matter how rough life has beaten you up in the past, your outlook, how you approach events that happen is key. Count your blessings through out the day. Literally list them out loud or in your head as constant reminders to reinforce, fortify your thinking as reminders of all that is so good in your life.

Flexibility in your thinking, the ability to quickly shift gears to learn from life’s setbacks keeps you from being sucked in to a pit of despair. A positive approach to learn from personal mistakes rather than always quick to point out who is responsible for the frown on your face is a powerful tool.

We are and always will be beginners in life.

Don’t feel ashamed or let anyone beat down your inner joy because they are unhappy and figure somehow you are always the one responsible. Or that they feel you don’t have the right to be happy because they are not. Remember hurt people hurt people. Take time to learn the source of their pain, suffering. Pray for them. Learn from them. But don’t discard them. And don’t let them abuse you with a harsh, critical spirit.

I was brought up on a Maine farm, did not have time to ever stop and feel sorry, lament for myself because my life had a clear, simple purpose. Pitch in with the other family members working the soil. Being outdoors in the spring creating a fresh smooth, rock free field to plant a new crop was a rebirth, renewal experience.

The chance to wipe the slate clean, to begin again. I knew my place in a family in the rhythm of Maine farming. I was depended on for my piece, contribution to the good of the family. And enjoyed each Maine farming season…the one to plant, the one to cultivate and hoe, the one to harvest. We had a few cows, small animals too and the balance of chores each day to feed, water and care for them created a rich sense of purpose. An internal metronome that guided our childhood. There were chores to do, there was nothing to be depressed about.

You don’t need a mood elevator drug regiment for fulfillment, to throw back a few shots of daily booze to forget your problems.

Or create a distracting medicated buzz. The wonderment of true lasting joy and excitement for life comes from a willingness to not always be right, to not control others. To accept differing opinions so you become less narrow, have the ability to soften hard and fast stances if you live a just black and white existence. Celebrate other viewpoints besides your own.

I’ll be happy when, I will know true joy if situations don’t work either. You postpone the inner state of joy, peace, contentment until something arrives. That may not. But the pursuit of a goal and living in the moment can be the genuine source of happiness. Stay in the day, the present and chose to be happy. Other people don’t make you happy, you do. It would be an incredible full time exhaustive job if whoever you marry, date, spend time with demanded “make me happy”.

Little things in life are the source of our joy.

The beauty of a new Maine day offers lots of sparkle to create happiness. I was a single full time Dad and rocking, holding a child sleeping in my arms is one powerful memory. Providing for the family is an awesome responsibility, privilege. Experiencing new things through a child’s eyes, being by their side guiding them, preparing them for life teaches you plenty too. A child takes your mind off yourself, makes you a better person because you can not preach one thing, and then do another. They are watching, keep your honest.

Add to this list of little things in your life that give you comfort, joy, create an overflowing well of inner happiness. So when someone rubs you the wrong way, bumps in to you it’s okay. You smile and take is all in stride. Because your inner contentment is strong, your faith in God makes you secure in yourself with out worries, fears, regrets, any shame or guilt.

My what makes me happy list living in a small Maine town includes my kids liking what I cooked, asking for more vegetables.

The smell of the ocean, staring in to a crackling fireplace or outdoor blaze with friends. New clean sheets, a small child walking next to you reaching up to take your hand, a handwritten letter from a relative or friend, private romantic notes left in hidden place only you would find.

Hot black coffee on the deck overlooking a Maine lake as the sunrises and you prepare your heart and head for a new day. Tea time with a parent in the middle of an afternoon in rocking chairs in a Maine farm house kitchen. Any new small animal. Knowing a good book is waiting for you. Having your income taxes done. The groceries are put away.

Finding a really nice well knit sweater at Mardens for five dollars. A whiff of feminine perfume and looking around to spy the source. Laughing babies and everyone in the room talking in higher pitched voices, family reunions with all ages sampling the home made food and knowing you are part of something bigger, special. Music that enhances the mood. The right kiss for the occasion.

Being hugged, made to feel special, told don’t change a thing.

A mate thinking they got the better end of the bargain and you feeling the same way in return. Talking, learning wisdom from an older person at a Maine bean supper in a grange or church. The smell of leaves burning. Reading to a small child, then they read to you. Prayers at night, lights out. Standing in the bedroom doorway watching them sleep.

Kayaking a Maine lake at sunset. Being in a setting you can not get to by car, high on a Maine mountain any season. A smile you caused. Fresh squeezed apple cider or home made ice cream you made, get to sample. Cooking a meal slowly, no clock pushing you with family, mate or friends in a kitchen filled with smells, music, low lighting. Being told “I love you”.

On your knees in a flower garden, hummingbirds and bees doing their thing. Hot out of the oven strawberry rhubbard pie with artic cold ice cream being scooped on to end a meal. Walking barefoot, the feel of soft grass on your feet. Popsicles and Kool aid, juicy watermelon, sizzling steaks. Sunsets, lighthouses, lightning, thunder or snow storms. A small child on a summer night staring in to a jar of fire flies they caught. Or twirling a sparkler that lights up their jubliant face in the shadows as crickets, frogs, lake loons provide background music.

The surroundings, setting is everything. Get to Maine quick as you can for a happier life. The loved ones around you will benefit too with the move, investment in Vacationland.

I’m Maine REALTOR Andrew Mooers, ME Broker