My wife and I opened the house up for a Hawaiian-themed slumber party, hosted by my daughters. This morning, brought back a dozen donuts for the group.
The other day I wrote about the need for play and how it can help make us happy. There is another key element to happiness – flexibility.
I am not talking about physical flexibility. I’m talking about the ability to roll with it, the loosening of those rigid mental constraints, and the willingness to try something new.
Earlier this week, my daughters dreamed up the idea of having a Hawaiian party on Friday night. But Friday night has been our date night for many years – the one night of the week we reserve for Mom and Dad. My wife and I talked about it. In the end it was not a difficult decision to let the girls invite their friends over.
The result? A torn up house, 3am bed time, chaos, two scavenger hunts, a dance party, fruit shakes, bacon, and a house full of happy girls. Even we parents ended up with smiles on our face (most of the time).
Had we not been flexible, it would have been just another Friday night. Probably relaxing, but certainly not memorable. Would we have been happier by rigidly sticking with our normal routine? Maybe, but I doubt it.
It seems to me that flexibility and happiness are related. By aggressively holding to rigid ideologies, schedules, and expectations, we put ourselves in the position of being on guard. On guard against an attack on our ideology. On guard against a schedule change. On guard against the unexpected. Have you ever met someone who is on guard all the time? I know many people like that. They do not seem very happy.
I cannot recommend being flexible to the point of being indecisive, or to the point of servitude. But building up the ability to be flexible will help you relax your guard. And when you are relaxed, you are often happier.
Flexibility is like play and giving your time. It is another piece of the happiness puzzle.