I don’t think that I have ever been quite as happy as I am this summer working at the PEAS farm, living a simple but fulfilling life. I ate great food, worked in a beautiful place, had meaningful conversations with people who sincerely care about what is going on in the world, and I was finally in a place where I think I belonged. I think that usually I was always looking for something more, yet I never quite knew what it was I am looking for. But, this summer I realized what I have been needing to be truly happy.
My fellow workers and even instructors at the farm had many conversations about what it takes to live a fulfilling and joyful life. We narrowed it down to a few different components; a person needs to have meaningful conversations with people, to exercise daily in some form or another, as well as seeing the rewards from your hard work.
Humans are not solitary creatures; we crave human interaction. To be happy, people instinctively need other people in their lives. We cannot be truly happy unless the people we have in our lives mean something to us; we have to care about the people we have in our lives to live a fulfilling life. We need meaningful conversations with these people we care about, because we cannot be happy with small talk that essentially means nothing.
Another extremely thing humans need in life to be content is daily exercise. This doesn’t mean that we all need to hit the gym every day, but we definitely need to be doing something active. The activity that I experienced at the farm was just the routine farming: weeding, planting, walking, and lifting heavy objects. Any kind of activity—such as hiking, walking or biking to work, or playing a fun game of basketball with friends—can help people to live a more fulfilled life.
The last component of happiness that we discussed at the farm was seeing the rewards of your work. I experienced this in the way of planting small crops at the beginning of the summer, watching them slowly grow into large and lush plants, and then eating the fruits of my (and my peers) labor. Simply eating the food that we grew, somehow made it all taste better than I could have ever believed.
You know you’re happy when you see bugs snuggled in the flowers and you wish that you could capture that moment forever. Happiness comes in all shapes and forms, but this summer, I connected with people, plants and the land, and that is all I could ever ask for.