Realizing Happiness

One of the best things about the Fourth of July falling on a Friday is that the fun of the holiday seems to continue through the whole weekend. Ryan’s friend Eric drove in town from Ocala on Thursday night and stayed with us through Sunday morning. Our first visitor!

ryan eric

The three of us had a great Fourth of July and spent most of it at Brittany and David’s house on the lake. They have the most gorgeous home and Ryan and I have told them that they’re selling North Carolina lake life pretty hard!

fourth of july at the lake

We’ve been to their house twice now and both times we left wanting to move in.

Lake Norman Swimming (Picture from Brittany)

They had a good group of people over for the holiday and all of the kids who came to play seemed to have a blast in the lake. And so did Sadie!

swimming vizsla

She probably jumped off their dock 20 times throughout the day and swam her little heart out as she doggie paddled back and forth between me and Ryan. She was one tired pup by the time we drove home after the fireworks and we considered that a victory!

As for the fireworks, we took Brittany and David’s boat out on Lake Norman and had one heck of an awesome view of probably six different firework shows happening all over the lake. As the finale of the final firework show lit up the sky, I leaned back into Ryan’s chest on the boat and told him, “I just feel so happy.” (Sadie, on the other hand, did not. She was shaking up a storm but did better than expected.) It was one of those rare rush of emotions that happen when you feel like you’re fully in the moment and realizing your happiness as it’s happening.

This may sound goofy, but after reading The Happiness Project, one thing that stuck out to me was the author’s views on happiness and happy memories. She wrote that all too often while we’re making the actual memory, we know we’re having fun, but sometimes we get more happiness out of remembering the experience than we do from actually living it. She said this realization made her want to focus on in-the-moment happiness.

Her example was vacations. Yes, we have a blast on vacations, but sometimes remembering the vacation brings about even more joy than the actual activities themselves. I totally got where she was coming from and it really made me want to focus on my happiness and recognize and appreciate happiness in my life as it was actually happening. This may sound a little out there to you guys, but after struggling a bit during our time in Ocala, I feel like I am truly grateful for the changes this move to Charlotte has brought into my life and I’m trying to focus on appreciating little sources of joy that seem to pop up daily right now.

Question of the Morning

  • Do you feel like you recognize “in the moment” happiness or do you think you often realize how happy you were after the fact?
  • When was the last time you felt truly happy in the moment?


  1. Cristina says

    6 months ago we had our second baby, and life is just so unbelievably sweet right now. Our family is complete and life is good. I focus on my blessings and savor my happiness every day! I used to feel like I rushed through life and always needed to have something on the horizon to “look forward” to – since I have started making an effort to be more present I feel like I don’t need that anymore. I’m happy for you! Life is too short to not appreciate your happiness!


  2. says

    Sounds like such an amazing celebration! I’ve always thought Brittany’s house was just stunning in her photos (ok, I sound like a creeper haha), so I’m not surprised you wanted to move in. 😉

    I think I am pretty good at embracing those happy moments as they happen, rather than after the fact, but I could do a better job at being “present” and not usually thinking 10 steps ahead and planning my next day/vacation/career move/etc. The last time I remember being amazed by my happiness was actually a little over a year ago on a date with a guy who turned out to be a douchebag. Even though things didn’t work out, at that moment, I was blissful (and oblivious haha).


  3. says

    This is so pertinent to my life! I always struggle with in-the-moment happiness, but love life the most when I am successful at it. For me (as someone prone to stress) it helps to have other little ducks in a row, like the house being tidy and getting my workout in, so that I can really sit back and enjoy.

    Thanks for the good reminder, Julie!


  4. says

    My boyfriend and I are travelling the world together for a year. It’s so easy to get caught up in taking photos and documenting our trip for emails and Instagram. But, I am very conscious that the really unforgettable, life-changing moments are the ones that can never be captured in a photo, or even in words. I cherish them. It’s our time.

    I’ve loved following your journey. We travelled in North Carolina and fell in love. We also love Florida and are currently in the Keys. Hearing that you are so happy in your new home makes me smile.


  5. says

    I definitely know what you mean. I feel like with traveling, especially with action-packed days, I don’t always recognize the happiness of it in the moment. Usually, though, there will be one or two moments in particular that stick out as particularly amazing.

    I was recently on a trip to Myanmar, and my boyfriend and I were visiting these beautiful temples. We climbed to the top of one, and were met by two little boys whose parents were caretakers there. The older boy pulled out a mess of bills and coins, and showed us all of the countries’ currencies he had collected. He didn’t have Malaysia (which is where we’re currently living), so I gave him and his brother some loose money that I happened to have not yet exchanged. They were just so happy and proud of their collection, and I really felt happy in that moment. For whatever reason, it stuck out to me both at the time and in retrospect.


  6. says

    I love that book so much- especially for quotes like that! I just got back from vacation and am a little bummed- but you’re right, remembering the fun things makes me almost as happy as being back there! So glad to hear that you are loving NC 🙂


  7. says

    I really want to read that book now! And Ill admit I am an afterwards kind of person. I’ve always had to fight against my pessimistic nature, so I guess it goes with that. Instead of always looking back at moments I didn’t enjoy until it was too late, I’ve been trying to remember to enjoy the now. Thanks for the reminder!


  8. Sarah Whitney says

    I completely understand what you mean! Finding happiness in the moment can be hard, but is truly such a wonderful feeling. I’m so happy to hear that you’re loving your new location!


  9. says

    More and more recently, I’ve been really trying to live in the moment and focus on the happiness I’m feeling right at that time and soak it all in. It’s good to be in the moment and feel the joy of life!


  10. says

    Such an eye-opening question at the end, and definitely something I want to focus on more. I do think I’m pretty good at recognizing ‘in the moment’ when I’m happy, but should do it more often! I think one of my most recent & truly ‘happy’ moments was finally moving into our new duplex!



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