Happiness doesn’t always magically make its way into our lives. Sometimes, we have to take the first steps to bring joy to our lives. To do so, it’s crucial to be in the right mindset, to make the right plans, and to surround yourself with the right energy (whether that means being alone or being with other positive people).
I know that my favorite animals (dogs and giraffes) make me happy. Just watching them brings me joy. Sadly, I can’t watch giraffes up close on a daily basis. Or a weekly. Or a monthly. . . you get the picture. Luckily, a few weeks ago my cousin Amanda invited me to go on an road trip to Animal Adventure Park, where we could interact with some incredible animals, including giraffes. Thank you for taking me, Amanda!!
On Friday, Amanda, Arianna, Sal, Amelia, and I drove to the park in New York. The drive was long, but it was well worth it. The five of us were able to appreciate each species we saw and stare in awe at their uniqueness and beauty.
In case you don’t know, I’m six-foot-one. I know, pretty tall for your average 20 year old. There are very few people and creatures that are taller than me. Giraffes are one of them. They make me feel right at home. Seeing giraffes makes my heart beat quickly (in a good way).
As I’m sure you know, people can be very cruel. There are lots of people who will pick others apart and make them feel outcasted for all sorts of traits and differences. In the past, strangers, classmates, friends, and family have made me feel insecure about my tall frame. There were times when I wasn’t sure if I should be proud of my height or ashamed of it. The flip-flopping about appreciating my height versus seeing it as a burden came to a halt a few years ago at the Naples Zoo, however, when I took the time to observe and appreciate giraffes for all that they are.
Giraffes truly are beautiful animals. Their height adds to their beauty; it makes them stand out in a good way. Being tall is not a burden. It’s something that should be embraced. Giraffes help me embrace my height. They inspire me to stand tall and be proud of my height. Giraffes make me happy.
Seeing April, Ollie, and baby Tajiri (the giraffes) brought me so much happiness. I’m still on cloud 9, two days later. But my appreciation doesn’t end now that I’m back home, away from giraffes. I care about animals a lot, and I understand that animals need our help. I’m looking into learning more about different foundations and causes that help animals, especially giraffes, survive in their natural habitats, because I don’t want to live in a world without giraffes.
If learning more and spreading awareness about the threats to their survival— including being hunted by humans and losing living space due to human population growth and settlement expansion– can help save the existence and quality of life for giraffes, then I will happily work to bring health and happiness to giraffe lives. I’d love to invest more of my time, energy, and money into giraffes because planning to help them and visit them brings me joy. Why wouldn’t I want to bring joy into my life?
Something that surprised me (and brought me excitement) is that Animal Adventure Park allows visitors to get very close to the animals, under zookeeper supervision of course. Visitors are allowed to feed the animals with zookeeper approved foods, which are bought within the park. Some animals can eat lettuce, others grapes and carrots. Giraffes went crazy for carrots. Everywhere you looked, people were holding out carrots waiting for April and Ollie to grab them from their hands, or better yet, their mouths.
Yes, a person is allowed to hold a carrot in his or her mouth and let a giraffe approach them for the carrot. Most of the time, that leads to a kiss between a person and a giraffe. And I can proudly say that I kissed a giraffe and I liked it. #YOLO!
Seeing April, Ollie, and baby Tajiri (the giraffes) brought me so much happiness. I’m still on cloud 9, two days later. But my appreciation doesn’t end now that I’m back home, away from giraffes. I care about animals a lot, and I understand that animals need our help.
Now I’d like to ask you something: what makes you happy? It doesn’t matter if it’s as small as your favorite meal (I am always down for a good cheeseburger) or as big as an extravagant vacation (I have a list of places I want to visit!); happiness is happiness. If it brings you joy, invest your thoughts, time, energy, and money into it.
The right energy + the right setting = a recipe for pure joy and excitement
Make a list and look at it when you’re in need of some joy. Bring happiness into your life as much as possible. Surround yourself with your best friends, your favorite family members, your favorite animals, etcetera. Every once in a while, eat the foods that you truly love. Don’t just sit around and wait for happiness to find you. Take action. You’re worth it.