Slices of Life: Happiness is ...

It is all around us. It is ours for the finding and the taking. It is where each of us chooses to see it.

Jill Pertler
Jill Pertler

I remember a book from early childhood written by Charles Schulz. It was titled, “Happiness Is” and it caused quite a stir amongst the preschool crowd (and beyond). For good reason. Its message was simple, meaningful, ageless and timeless.

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So timeless, in fact, that its simple idea remains meaningful and ageless to this day. Happiness is … everywhere.

It is all around us. It is ours for the finding and the taking. It is where each of us chooses to see it. Schulz’s book started with “Happiness is a warm puppy,” and it is in that vein where I’ll start. Happiness is:

Puppy breath.

A new and empty garbage can liner, that someone other than you installed—without you knowing.


Laundry day—after it’s done.

An unloaded dishwasher.

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Knowing you did the best you could.

Birds chirping

A smile from a stranger

A knowing glance

Flipping the light switch and the room lights up.

Turning on the faucet and water comes out.


Putting the key in the ignition and the car starts.

Family get-togethers, no matter the day, time or occasion.

Breakfast for dinner.

Cake for breakfast.

Eating every day, whenever you are hungry.

Meeting a new friend who feels like an old friend.

Chatting with a friend you met in middle school band.

Reuniting with an old friend who is both an old friend and a new friend all at the same time.


Giving a compliment.

Being kind.

Growing a plant from seed.

A fall harvest.


Cool, clear drinking water.

Finding gas at 10 cents less a gallon than it was last week.

That first sip of coffee in the morning.


Waking up without the alarm clock.

An unexpected phone call from a friend.

Frozen pizza (guilty pleasure).

An ice cream cone—double scoop.

Those first moments after you’ve finished your daily workout.

A good hair day.

Putting on an old pair of jeans and finding they are a little looser than last time.

A clean kitchen.


Dirt under your fingernails after an afternoon of gardening.

Sandy towels after a day at the beach.

Freezie wrappers, poolside.

Remembering where you hid the good chocolate.

Getting it right the first time, or maybe the second time—or even the third time.

Trying your best—every time.

Football Sunday.

March Madness.


A phenomenal triple play.

The final round of golf on a Sunday afternoon.

The Olympics—both summer and winter.

The final playoff game—in any sport.

A newfound book by your favorite author.

Helping a friend.

Help from friends.

A fully charged phone.

Discovering a new binge-worthy TV series.

A 100-year-old oak tree in your yard.

Learning what a cardinal’s call sounds like and then hearing it for the first time in real life.

Dew on the grass in the morning.

A perfectly cooked fried egg,

A perfectly cooked steak.

A comfy pair of shoes.

Happy tears welling up in your eyes.

Healthy food that doesn’t taste healthy.

Returning home.

Knowing, without a doubt, where home is.

Happiness … it’s what we make of it. It is magic and miraculous. Happiness just is; and if that doesn’t make you happy, I’m not sure what will. (But I’ll keep trying.)

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

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