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For me, it is my family. There's really no other thing that comes close to giving me the joy that I get from being in love with my wife and from watching my children grow up and thrive. I can't imagine greater joy that that.
Making music gives me great and immediate joy. I can really lose myself in a song and feel uplifted, exercised (in an almost spiritual sort of way) and relaxed after a good session of singing and playing guitar.
Good conversation can do it too.
I agree that my family has had the greatest influence on my joy in the world. There is a difference, in my opinion, between "joy" and "happiness." To me, being happy is a temporary feeling. Many people easily answer that success in their career makes them happy. Happiness, to me, is a fleeting feeling.
Joy, however, is a deeper emotion that isn't full of feel-good juices, but is a more resonant complacency and contentment that lasts. At the end of my life, I do not imagine I will be celebrating financial or career success. Instead, I plan to be surrounded by the people I love most in the world, which is going to be my family.
A number of things, actually, not the least of which is teaching. Family, as has been said above, plus music and the arts, friendships. I am incredibly lucky to do something I enjoy for a living, and I get to meet some amazing people in the process. Now, it is true that what gives me joy also gives me aggravation, fatigue and financial issues, it gives me joy as well.
It's interesting to think of joy being described as a longer-lasting emotion than happiness, since I tend to think of joy as intense, but more fleeting. Music brings me great joy, as do some times with those I love. Happiness to me is a quieter feeling and a more lasting one, brought about again with those I love and also brought about by my work, which is teaching. When I swim or walk, I feel something somewhere in between happiness and joy.
A contact with God, whenever it gets established during my contact prayers, gives me real contentment and I take that as the real happiness. He is my real friend as He and only He comes to hold my hand whenever I am in trouble and guides me to resolve the same. All praise to God, Lord of all the worlds, the most Merciful, the most Beneficent.
If all is well in my immediate world, this translates to a feeling of joy. In this example, I am referring to my family and friends being in good health, in a good state of mind, with enough money to enjoy their lives. I also like staring at my flower garden for hours watching bees and insects buzz around, and going to the beach for the day, enjoying the sounds and smells of summer. Helping my students to learn something new is particularly joyful and going shopping is always a pleasure.
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