I have had writer's block lately. Luckily Mrs. Steen bought the Best Self Ultimate Deck Collection, which includes a "Wordsmith" pack for just such an occasion. The first card I pull out? Yup, that title ^^^ right there.
When vs. What vs. Where
When you usually see this question, the phrasing is more along the lines of "what makes you happiest." The twist here is the when. Not that What or Where are more straightforward questions to answer, but "when" seems an exciting twist.
Are we talking about when in the day? When in your life? When as a concept of some future time and date?
"When" seems to be the broadest of these three as What and Where are singular, but when can be incredibly fluid and apply to many different situations.
I have told my wife several times that my two favorite things in the world are spending time with my family and spending time without my family. In equal measures.
That being said, the activities are the same. I like camping, hiking, skiing, cooking, video games, off-roading, and working out. But I also like doing all of those as a family. The difference being that when I do it alone, no one else benefits. Self-care is extremely important but self-care does not require that I hike a 14er every weekend. When I do these things with the family, there is much more benefit all around.
That is still all about what I do to have fun, but not much about when I am actually the happiest. I have concluded that the answer is not a specific activity, time, or place but an event that can happen any time and anywhere.
So really, when am I happiest?
My happiest moments are when I see the pure, unadulterated joy on my kids' faces. Sure I hope these moments happen when we are doing activities that I like so that they form core memories of activities we can continue to enjoy together. But really, any time this happens, I am overcome with happiness, joy, and all sorts of other emotions.
Take this one, for example. My son wanted to go to the big animatronic dinosaur exhibit. Between tickets, parking, and a gift shop purchase, we spent north of $150 for a 45-minute gimmick. The moment we walked in and saw the first dinosaur, his face lit up, and he had the biggest smile I had ever seen on his face. I almost started crying because I could just feel the joy he was feeling. At that moment, I couldn't be happier.
He has done the same to me at the end of a long ski run when he did really well, at the swimming pool, when we ride bikes. Those moments are the ones I live for and am the happiest to have had. There might be tears involved, but the happiness is pure.
Going straight to my kids is probably a cop-out, but I find that even when I am out doing exciting things on my own, I start to develop a significant pull back to the kids and kind of wish I had just stayed home with them. Of course, this is all tempered by a random tantrum, and you never know when that sort of thing is going to happen.