happy happy, joy joy

written by alison

Yesterday I finally got to do what I have been wanting to for over a year – The Color Run.

Original plans were to do it in Washington, DC last summer, but becoming a self-employed entrepreneur at the same time made that seem like an un-wise expense at the time. When I got word that my hometown was on the list of destinations for this year, signing up was a no-brainer.

color run selfie

Waking up to rain and cool-for-summer temperatures didn’t dampen my spirits. I put as many white articles of clothing on as I could, wrapped my iPhone in plastic wrap and headed towards the event with my friends and a few trash bags in the car.

Thousands of people (rough estimate) gathered near the start line as they let waves of people go. Standing still while the rain continued to fall wasn’t ideal, but the music playing kept everything enjoyable. I made inappropriate jokes about wet t-shirt contests in between trying to dry my sunglasses with damp clothes. We waited a bit for our turn to go.

After starting, we made our way to each of the color stations at each kilometer – pink, yellow, orange, blue and a variety at the very end. No timing chip, just a white shirt and signs that say “Happiest 5K on the Planet”. I think they were pretty accurate.

Yesterday’s event was the perfect reminder that the universe might have better ideas that what we initially want. I strongly remember being pretty upset that my plans to travel for a 5K were squashed, even though it was the smart and logical thing to do. Fast forward less than a year – I’m getting dosed with color while laughing, dancing and running. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the event as much last year, since I was dealing with lots of stress and negativity from myself and others. For that, I’m grateful that my plans had to adjust.

The bigger thing that I took away from yesterday, is what happiness means to me, along with how the definition has changed in the last 3 years, 1 year and even 3 months.

I now know that happiness can be a few moments in every day, or an entire week of smiles. It’s putting the iPhone away and enjoying quality play-time, whether that means watching tv, doing yoga (not that I ever brought my phone into a yoga class), cooking dinner, reading, or simply sitting on the floor with my dog. Happiness is taking care of myself so that I can take care of others. It’s being honest with everyone around me instead of focusing all of my efforts on making them like me. It’s making a smoothie in my fancy blender every weekday morning knowing that I’m getting a healthy breakfast that I made up on the spot – assuming it tastes good. Happiness is being grateful for the little and large things equally. It’s knowing that even with the things I have gone through, I can still be a positive and loving person. It’s letting myself define success for my life – and letting the definition change as I grow. Happiness is being me.

So, how do you define happiness?