My son and I were driving down the expressway one day, and somehow stumbled into a conversation about happiness. At one point, my son said, “most people are happy and just don’t know it.”

My first thought was that this was a profound statement for a 21 year old. My second thought was that I knew exactly what he meant, and was in total agreement with his statement. I knew he meant that a lot of people spend a majority of their time thinking about the things they don’t have, instead of focusing on what they do have. Our lives are a reflection of what we value, and what we choose to focus on. Once we accomplish a goal, or acquire something we desire, we tend to immediately think about the next thing we want, instead of looking at whether we have what we need. Most of the time, we have what we need, plus a good deal of what we want. When we focus on what is lacking in our lives, it kicks us into a state of unhappiness. After thinking about his statement for a few seconds, my son went on to say, “you know you’re happy, when you wake up in the morning and you’re just happy to be alive.”

Of course, I had to ask… “Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling happy to just be alive?” He said, “I used to, when I was younger.” I understood that the responsibilities of adulthood had taken the place of his carefree youth, but I was glad to hear that he’d experienced the feeling of just being happy to be alive. I know that no matter what he does, or where life takes him, he will have times of adversity and sadness; but I also know he will have this experience of happiness to access.

In that moment, I was happy being right where I was, and with someone who understood the real meaning of happiness. The extra bonus was that this person was my son!