Because I believe that what we focus on grows, I know putting time and effort in to celebrating friendships (one of the most important things in my life) will bring me further happiness.
“It’s about taking those moments when things are fine and making them amazing, because those moments are what make us who we are, and they’re the same moments we take into battle with us when our brains declare war on our existence. It’s the difference between surviving life and living life.”
– Jenny Lawson in Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things
Living life to the full for me, is all about having adventures—big and small. While I could find joy having adventures by myself, I prefer to share the journey with those I love. My good friend Alex and I have talked about the importance of living an adventurous life. No, we’re not going to sell everything and backpack around Europe, or train for a year to hike in the Himalayas.
Adventure is a state of mind. Adventure is about wondering “what if?”—to get curious and take steps towards exploring possibilities.
During this first year of our friendship, Alex and I had many adventures (near and far). Living in two different (and far apart) cities in the Lower Mainland (greater Vancouver area) has meant discovering new places and returning to familiar favourites each time we get together. And every time we get together we talk about other places we’d like to spend time together and travel to.
This anticipation in itself brings happiness. Anticipating adventures with my friend extends the joy of the actual adventure.
Sometimes, you can extend joy with anticipation for a very long time:
When I proposed to Alex that we should do something (awesome) to celebrate the one year anniversary of us meeting, the first thing he (excitedly) said was “Victoria!” We’d been talking and dreaming about going over to Vancouver Island’s big city (and our province’s capital) of Victoria for the better part of an entire year.
Once we knew we were going on the trip, Alex and I rode the anticipation wave. We brainstormed where we’d visit, the foods we’d eat, the ferry ride to get there, and how awesome it would be to spend three whole days together. Then, booking the hotel and ferry trip brought on a whole new wave of joy.
The planning was all part of the journey and definitely helped us celebrate our friendship, since we considered things that we would both enjoy doing, seeing, and eating.
We spent three days on Vancouver Island around Victoria. Here are a few highlights from our trip:
One way Alex and I celebrated our friendship was to go to our 4th and 5th locations together on My National Quest – my quest to visit every National Park and National Historic Site in Canada. On Vancouver Island, we visited both Fisgard Lighthouse and Fort Rodd Hill, which are half an hour away from Victoria.
We also visited Hatley Castle, the site where many TV shows and movies have been filmed. Most notably for us, the X-Men movies feature Hatley Castle as Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.
The city of Victoria is beautiful day and night, but I just love how the old buildings light up at night. You can see the parliament building in the background, at the right. The Fairmont Empress hotel is the large building on the left.
4 ways to extend joy:
Anticipation —anticipate with pleasure.
This can include: visioning the future event or activity, booking accommodation or buying tickets, creating playlists, reading/researching, budgeting, and scheduling.
Savouring–savour the moment as it’s happening.
Mindfulness is what immediately comes to mind. It’s also about focusing on your experience, not what may or may not be ahead or behind.
Expression–expressing your joyfulness.
Most people I know don’t have a problem with this, not since social media became widely used to share photos, videos, and expressions online.
Reflection–reflect on your joyful moments.
After the event, take time to look through pictures, journal or write about the experience, or thing about what you learnt and what your favourite memories are.
Because the above 4 things didn’t make a nice acronym, here’s something that works better:
D ay trips (or longer)
G etaway from the everyday
The Ford Edge Sport we used for our Vancouver Island adventure was roomy for all the different activities enjoyed during our trip, was sporty – yet also perfect for a night out on the town, and had all the features we wanted to have an enjoyable trip. Our favourite feature? The great sound system and satellite radio! Also, we really enjoyed the huge sunroof to let in the beautiful sunshine we were lucky enough to have during our trip.
Will there be future, yearly, friendship celebrations for Alex and I? Oh yes! I’m assured of this fact because, as I dropped off the Ford Edge Sport and said my farewells, I took one last picture of the vehicle and sent it to Alex.
I told him I was sad because it meant our adventure had officially come to an end. He said: “we’ll have lots more adventures”, which made me pretty happy and hopeful. In fact, we already have our next friendship celebration location picked out for next June!