K-Weeks: Kataluma, Kismet, and Kindness

special K

K-Weeks have been a little KooKy. K’s don’t Kontribute as many words as I’d like, so let’s Kreate a bit of K-os on this post with Krazy, Kool, and Kreative spellings, oK? These two weeks K’s were King! I hope there were Kit-Kats, Klondike bars, and Key lime pies in your Kitchen.

Kataluma

My K-Weeks outing was to Kataluma Chai. I’m Keen on chai and this Kataluma must have Kilos of Kinds available.

I met Irma from Kompassionate Hospice Kare here for a Konversation. I’ve been looking for a way to earn “Karma points” and volunteering for hospice Kare Kould provide that Kurrency. (I once thought about Kreating an app, where one Kould earn and spend “Karma points” through volunteerism.)

( Kudos to my Kick-ass Kind friend, Michael Bolé, who took this photo and is rich in Karma points.)

Kismet

As I mentioned, K-Weeks were Kind of Kooky and I was thinking of putting a Kabosh on this Kindergarten-like project. Yeah, I was going to Kill the whole Kit and Kaboodle.

Then I went to this Boulder Rambler meetup and spoke to two new Konnections. It was Kismet!

Jules and Luisa were Kindred spirits and were Key in reminding me of ways to Keep my spirits high.

They were like the KooKaburra spreading a message of Kumbaya.

Kindness

The Keyword – the King of all K-words, of Kourse, is Kindness. Yes, it seems each letter has at least one Killer Kick-ass word. Starting with G we have Gratitude, Happiness, Intention, Joy, and now, Kindness!

There is so much Kindness in this world, that I Know I often take for granted. I spend so much time Katastrophizing about what might happen that I Kan miss the Kindness.

There was this Kool Krochet for Kindness site that I disKovered today.

My Karpe Diem Konnections site is always full of Kind Komments like these two from Kelly and M’Lady maKivor!

Elizabethe’s Grateful Gathering, and my friend, BecKy, Kreated a Kind space for me to share the grief I was feeling on the 27th anniversary of my bother’s death.

I’m surrounded by Kind Kohorts, Kompanions, Kids, and Kin. Using the last 5 Killer words:

When I’m Intentional about my Gratitude for Kindness, I’m filled with Happiness and Joy! And you know what all this is Leading to? L-weeks, and that means Love!

The Boulder Ramblers and the Power of Connection

New friends, Jules and Luisa, with invaluable insights

Walking with Boulder Ramblers is a good remedy for the blues

The power of connection is stronger than I realized. As a natural introvert, I often have to talk myself into socializing. This is especially true when I’m in a funk, as I have been lately.

One of the best ways to improve my mood is to hike with friends and one of my favorite walking/hiking groups is the Boulder Ramblers, led by the awesome Darcy Kitching. (Check out this Ice Cream-themed Walk she led last summer!)

The Boulder Ramblers is not just about hiking or walking, it’s about connecting. Darcy does such a wonderful job of facilitating connection. She really has a gift of making everyone feel welcomed and part of her big extended family.

Connecting with two new friends

The first two women I saw as the group gathered were Jules and Luisa. Both were relatively new to Boulder Ramblers and had friendly smiles.

Luisa was sporting a “Pura Vida” cap. Spanish for “Pure Life,” the phrase is used to describe Costa Rica’s culture. Living in Costa Rica is something I’ve been dreaming about for years. I’ve been obsessing about it even more lately, thinking about switching my “snowbird location” from Florida to Costa Rica.

Within 30 minutes of talking to Luisa, she’d given me two super-valuable Costa Rican resources: A Spanish language school, CPI-Spanish, and a Volunteer Organization, CEPIA. Both are in Playa Flamingo, Guanacaste, the very area I’ve been wanting to check out! (Not just because of the “Flamingo” name, either! It’s known for its beautiful beaches and ex-pat community.)

In the course of our conversations, Jules, also, made me aware of more resources that sounded really interesting: A Bolder Women’s Meetup Group and Girl Catch Fire – Finding Meaning in Midlife. Even though I’m a bit past “mid-life,” I know my moodiness is often related to the lack of purpose I feel at this stage of life.

A tool to help us realize our value and purpose

Jules shared a simple yet powerful journaling tool: each morning, write down three things you’re grateful for, and each evening, three things you want to celebrate about the day. This practice helps reinforce our value and purpose, and brainstorm ways to continue pursuing happiness.

Jules recommended using pen and paper, which I find charming. On this first night, however, I’ll “cheat” and use this blog post and publicly celebrate.

The power of connection

It’s amazing how a single morning with the Boulder Ramblers could potentially redirect my life. The resources and ideas shared by Jules and Luisa have filled me with excitement and possibilities, from new Meetups to the prospect of living in Costa Rica.

My celebration journal for tonight includes:

  1. Went to Boulder Ramblers Meetup – Grateful to Darcy for all she does to foster connection and community in this group!
  2. Grateful for my conversation with Luisa about her Costa Rica experience – Explored CPI-Spanish and CEPIA as possibilities for next winter!
  3. Grateful for my conversation with Jules about finding purpose in Midlife and the journaling tool – signed up for upcoming Meetup and learning more about Girl Catch Fire.

Have you found unique ways to lift your spirits? Share your experiences in the comments or in the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group!

J-Weeks: Journey, Joy, and Jokes

Journey Home

Just today CarpeDM completes the Journey!

It’s time for J-Weeks Jabberwocky! Maybe we should start with some Joints, now that I’m back in Colorado. Just Joshing. Joints aren’t my Jam.

J-Weeks began with my Journey Jetting home to Colorado after a Jolly winter in Florida.

I was Juggling a lot of balls and Jumping through hoops, trying to get my car shipped. After two weeks of bad JuJu, I was finally able to schedule a pickup.

Just today, CARPEDM was Jettisoned from the car carrier and is home with me at last. The driver did an excellent Job and I’m in a much more Jovial mood than I was when the Journey began.

Journaling about Joy

Journaling helped Jog my memory about the many Joys of my Colorado life. In particular, the Juniors who live in Colorado.

Mother’s Day Jubilee

My two weeks home have been Jam-packed with Juicy reunions.

I did Jumping Jacks and Jogged to celebrate my J-Weeks Jaunt through my neighborhood. Reminiscent of the Jacarandas of Florida, there are lilacs of Jordy Blue, filling the air with their perfumed scent.

Lilacs Jazz up my Jog with their sweet scent

A bouquet filled with Jacinthe-colored tulips bring me Joy while I drink a cup of Jo in my Jammies.

I asked the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group for examples of Joy. Answers included Jets, Journeys, Jersey, Jasmine, Joie de Vivre, and Jiving to the Jitterbug.

J-Weeks: Jokes

Jokes were another opportunity for the Carpe Diem Community to Join in with Jocularity.

I liked Kelly’s J-Play, both with Jaywalking and Blue Jay:

Judge and Jury would agree that these Jokes would make any Jester Jealous.

All Joking aside, though J-words are limited, Just one small word is all we need to hit the Jackpot: Joy!

Activities Galore at the Superior Community Center

So, I’m back in Superior after my Florida stint, psyched to be home. But guess what? My car’s MIA, stuck in shipping hell. Oh dear. But here’s the silver lining: while I’m carless, I stumble upon a treasure, practically in my own back yard—the Superior Community Center. Turns out, there’s a whole bunch of cool stuff for the over-60 crowd like me that I never knew about. Book clubs, Texas Hold’em games—you name it. It’s like I hit the jackpot!

As I learned during the pandemic, a “Staycation in Superior” is an awesome opportunity to explore my beautiful town!

Activities for all Age Groups

The Superior Community Center is only about 1/2 mile from my house. I love walking there, even when my car is available. Last year, I often walked over for a variety of events – open-mic night, ukulele jam, DJ Bingo, and Thursday night choir practice.

One of the many great things about this intergenerational community choir is that it’s very informal! No auditions necessary! Even though I was gone all winter, I was able to join right in again, as if I’d never left.

Activities for 60+

I decided to check what activities were on the schedule for the over 60 crowd and what a surprise! There’s such a variety and abundance of classes!

Since I’ve been home, I’ve joined the Book Club, the Fountain of Youth drop-in group, and played Texas Hold’em yesterday at the Games group.

The young woman (2nd from the left), Hannah, works at the Superior Community Center and helps facilitate many of the activities. Next to her is Carol, who was teaching Texas Hold’em. I almost didn’t go, thinking I was already a pro, but I learned a few things myself!

Fun Atmosphere

Besides the variety of activities that are being held at the Superior Community Center, it’s just a fun place to hang out.

It’s funny that I’ve been actively looking at moving to a 55+ community so that I’d be able to find new nearby friends, activities, and clubs. A couple of weeks ago, I found that so much was available at the library close to my Bradenton condo. This week, I find there’s an abundance of activities available walking distance from my Superior home.

Feeling inspired to explore what your local community center has to offer? Don’t wait! Check out the activities calendar, gather some friends or fly solo, and dive into the fun. Whether you’re into book clubs, card games, or just looking to meet new people, there’s something for everyone. So, go ahead, discover the hidden treasures of your own neighborhood, and make some unforgettable memories along the way!

Are you finding new opportunities for community? Come join us on the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook page and share your experiences!

I-Weeks: Ice Cream, Images, and Internet

I-Weeks: Indulging In Ice Cream

I-Weeks: Ice Cream Indulgence

I’ve been Imagining Ice Cream since the Initial days of I-Weeks! I Indulged Individually. (I’m Independent that way.) But, of course, I also Issued an Invitation to my MLC learner and her Irresistible Infant during our final Informal In-person get-together.

Our Informal Instructions are Improvised and sometimes Inspired by Interacting about Information pertaining to the celebrated letter.

“I Before E” Is Irrelevant Instruction (Image taken from a Facebook post)

In an Inordinate number of Instances, Inglish spelling Is Infuriating. Indeed, I’m Intentionally Inundating this post, even spelling Inglish Incorrectly, just to be Irritating (and to Introduce more I-words).

I-Weeks: Images

In my Inbox, I often receive Interesting Invitations Involving my iPhone. I took an iPhone Photography class and this week, the same photographer was offering an Instagram class. I’ve been Interested in Improving my Influencing skills with better Images, so I signed up!

My photography and Instagram skills are In their Infancy, so I’m Insecure. However, the Idea off capturing Incredible Images of joy, Is, In Itself, an Illusive goal to keep me Inspired.

An Inadvertent I-Weeks discovery was an Innovative park at The Bay in Sarasota called “Ibis Playground.” I’m Inserting an Incredibly Inferior Image as an Indication of the “before Instruction” quality of my Images.

Inferior Image of Ibis Innovation

I’m Intrigued by the Infinite and Illuminating expressions that can be made simply with ones “I”s (eyes). (This time I’ll Insert an Internet Image.)

Internet Image of potato with “I”s (Eyes)

I-Weeks: Internet

It’s my final week of the snowbird season, so I’ve Intentionally avoided the Internet. Instead, I’ve spent Impromptu time, enjoying the Idyllic Iridescent ocean.

The beauty of my surroundings has been Ineffable. In-person Interactions have been Illuminating.

Inevitably, however, the Intelligent Interactions of the Internet are Irresistible. (In particular, the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook group.)

The answers to my request for Individual Introductions Include these Insights:

In Conclusion

I-Weeks remind us to be Intentional about the Infinite choices In life. Invest In Individual Innovative Ideas. Introspect on your Identity. In-joy the Ineffable. And above all, Indulge In Ice Cream!

From Books to Spanish Conversation Class: Rediscovering the Library

Manatee County Central Library in downtown Bradenton, Florida

I have always been a lover of libraries. Yup, I was that nerdy kid that went to the library at recess. Nothing made me happier than books!

Then computers came along, and I loved those even more than books! With the advent of social media, we could literally befriend authors! (If they were alive, that is.)

Thanks to the digital age and the Libby app, I didn’t even have to physically go to the library in order to check out books. I marvel at how, no matter where I am in the world, I can instantly check out eBooks and audiobooks!

With all the convenience of the digital age, I hadn’t really even thought about physically going to the library this winter while I was in Bradenton, Florida. That is, until I found out Spanish Conversation classes were being hosted there!

Spanish Conversation Classes at Manatee County Central Library

Spanish Conversation Class with Ginette

Wow! Did you know that high quality classes were being held at the library for free? I’ve been exploring 55+ communities, wishing for a chance to experience clubs and classes, and here was an opportunity right under my nose!

I love, love, love this Spanish Conversation Class that’s held Tuesday mornings at the Central Library. I’ve been volunteering at the Manatee Literacy Council and the dynamic teacher of this class, Ginett, is one of the advanced learners at MLC! How exciting to see her here helping people learn Spanish!

Ginett makes every Spanish Conversation Class fun. The first class I attended, we broke up into groups and did some role playing, as though we were in a restaurant. Ginett had provided actual food to be served! The class was not only a good opportunity to practice Spanish, but also to get in a little Improv play, and to meet fellow-Spanish-learners.

Classes and Events and Even Things

Spanish Conversation was just one of many free classes that were offered at the library! A very popular Country Line Dancing class is held every Friday in the Auditorium.

You can even borrow things, like cake pans, binoculars, and musical instruments.

Lifetime Access to the Library

Partners in Enlightenment Sculpture
Manatee Sculpture
Book Art!

Besides all the wonderful books, classes, events, and things you can borrow, the library is just a really cool place to be. It’s like a museum, with sculptures and fun art in every corner.

Could all of this really be free, even for snowbirds? I verified that even non-residents could take advantage of many of the library’s services. However, for a $100 donation, I’d have life-time access of all of the library’s services! Perfect!

Throughout my life, as a student, an employee, a mother, a book-lover, I’ve spent time in libraries. Maybe it’s now, post-pandemic, as a retired person, that I’m realizing how valuable it is for me to physically be inside a library. Being around stacks of books brings back that same joy I felt as a kid. It’s my happy place.

Whether you’re yearning for community, a good story, a class, or just a place to sit and reflect for awhile, check out your local library. Like me, you may rediscover your happy place.

Thank you to all those at The Library Foundation of Manatee County and to the Friends of Central Library Manatee County for your valuable services!

H-Weeks: Happiness, Hygge, and Haikus

Hello, Humans. H-Weeks have been a Hoot as we’ve paid Homage to the letter H. (Here’s a History of my 2024 goal.) Let me give you some Highlights from H-Weeks.

Happiness

Manatee Literacy Council‘s Open House! “Bee” Happy!

Happiness is the H-Weeks Headliner.

On the Home Page of CarpeDiemDay.com, you’ll find a wHole lot of other Happy Sites including:

Happiness is such a Habit that I entered the Helsinki Happiness Hacks competition earlier this month. I’m Hoping to Head to Helsinki and learn from Happiness Heroes. However, we can learn from the world’s Happiest country, even from Home.

There are Hundreds of Happiness Hacks: Heart-Healthy Hiking, Helping Hands, Hugs, Hula-Hoops, Honey, Hootenanny Hoedowns, Hearts, Hunks, Horny Hanky panky! Hang on… Hold your Horses. Holy cow and Heavens to Betsy!

This post is Hurriedly going to Hell in a Handbasket! Haha. Are you laughing Hysterically like a Hyena? I admit in all Humility, that my Humor is Hilarious. Or perhaps Humiliating. Hurrying on…

Hygge and Happy Hours

I’ve Had several Happy Hours in the past two weeks, including at the Home of the Hugely Hospitable Hostess, Felicia!

Felicia Has the superpowers of Hestia, Goddess of Hearth and Home. Her Home Heralded Hygge in every corner and Hallway. The key, I believe, comes from Her Huge Heart.

Happy Hour Hosted for the release of Brain Bitch

I also attended a Happy Hour Hosted by Terri in Honor of Brain Bitch, How I Quiet my Inner Mean Girl. Congratulations to the author, Jenny Greene, and Terri, who Helped throughout the writing process. Highly recommended book.

Haikus

It turns out International Haiku Poetry Day falls during H-Weeks on April 17! (Hooray for Hardly-Heard-of Holidays!)

I Hit up the Carpe Diem Connections Community and they Handed over Halcyon Haikus.

Honestly, the Haikus were Heartwarming. I Hesitate to repost without permission, so I’ll Humbly only offer my own Here:

Happiness Heyday!

Hearing Heartfelt Honesty.

Heidi’s Haikus; Hugs!

Hey now, Hey now, Don’t say it’s over…

I Heart H-Weeks, Naples, FL.

I know we Hate to Hail out H-weeks with all those Happy, Hygge Hearts and Hugs. If it Helps, Imagine the Ice cream that’s coming up In I-Weeks!

Seizing the Solar Eclipse: A Joyful Adventure in Austin with Felicia

Watching the Eclipse April 8, 2024
Watching the Eclipse April 8, 2024 in Austin

Solar Eclipse: An Epic Carpe Diem Experience

Were you one of those people who had been waiting for April 8th, 2024 since 2017? I missed “totality” at the last eclipse and was told by all my friends who’d experienced it that it was “Totality Cool!”

Now, mostly-retired, and the owner of Carpe Diem Day, I was not about to miss the great Solar Eclipse of 2024! I, along with millions, was eager to experience the full totality experience!

Even better than the solar eclipse, was that I was hosted by the most hospitable friend ever, Felicia! Felicia lives in Leander, TX, a suburb of Austin. While other viewers were spending beaucoup bucks on overpriced lodging, I was getting a priceless 5-star spa experience with a generous, fun, welcoming girlfriend!

Felicia serving empanadas to friends and family on National Empanada Day

The celebration started with a delicious lunch for friends and family. Without even knowing that April 8th is National Empanada Day, Felicia served her homemade empanadas! She’s an amazing cook and, obviously, has some kind of super-human powers. She’s like the Greek Goddess Hestia, Goddess of Hearth and Home. (Very appropriate since we’re in H-Weeks. More to come in upcoming H-Weeks blog post!)

Despite cloudy forecast, we see the eclipse throughout the afternoon!
Totality!
High tech and low tech viewing options!

The forecast had been 80-100% cloud coverage for Austin during the time of the eclipse, so I’d been prepared for a less-than-ideal viewing. As is often the case with these celestial events (or outdoor weddings), clouds or rain can be a major disappointment. As Alanis Morissette would say, “Isn’t it ironic?”

The flip side of that is, “Isn’t it amazing?” when the bad thing you expect, doesn’t happen? Still ironic, I guess, but in a positive way! I already knew that whatever the visibility would be, it would be a fun and memorable experience, but extra-special that the clouds parted throughout the day and during the couple of minutes of totality to give us all that “Wow!!” experience!

Walking & Wildflowers

Felicia and I amongst the bluebonnets

As a long-time student of Happiness, I know that two things that bump up my mood are walking and wildflowers! Add to that gorgeous weather and a good friend, and it’s the recipe for a perfect day!

The bluebonnets were out in full force – such a gorgeous indigo color. We saw them on our hikes in Leander and at Brushy Creek Lake Park.

But the real “Wow” factor with the Wildflowers was another serendipitous experience. When the LBJ Museum happened to be closed for construction, we stumbled upon the most beautiful wildflower drive ever: Willow City Loop!

I really wasn’t able to capture the extent of the beauty with my camera. All I can say is that we were absolutely hitting this beautiful haven at its peak!

Downtown Austin

Outside Austin’s Capital Building

Another one of my goals had been to visit every state capital. Even though this has been a rather dormant goal, my daughter-in-law had told me that I’d love Austin, so I was excited to have the opportunity to explore downtown with Felicia!

There a beautiful riverwalk with scenic bridges, parks, and skyscrapers in the background.

Austin River Walk

I absolutely LOVED the Austin library which seemed more like a museum than a library! There as an Art Gallery and Innovation Lab and even a Gift Shop!

Many “stories” in the Austin Library

There were many stories (I’m talking about floors!) with stairs throughout the building leading up, eventually, to a rooftop garden. Each floor was filled with artsy architecture and colorful designs. I could’ve easily spent the whole day exploring that magnificent library! I felt like a kid in a candy store!

Loved sampling the colorful unusual chairs!

“Keep Austin Weird” is Austin’s unofficial motto which is meant to be a call to support local businesses and indie efforts. The city does have a very unique and artsy charm to it that’s right up my alley.

Felicia’s Hospitality

I met Felicia first, along with Eva and Georgette, through my good friend, Becky. We went on a Bird-Watching microadventure together in 2022.

Felicia has always been one to make me feel so welcome with her genuine warm smiles and openness. She’s such a joy to be around, easily laughing and sharing her stories and wisdom.

Felicia (Goddess of Hearth and Home) has so many decorative touches in her home that I was going around taking pictures of everything from the soap to the vases, to the big, comfortable bed to the outdoor bathtub filled with flowers. Her home could be in any House Beautiful magazine.

But beyond the beauty of her home, Felicia has a gift in how she makes others feel. Her generosity and welcoming smile generate an immediate trust… someone you’d be ready to share your deepest secrets with.

A True Carpe Diem Experience!

Austin State Capital Building

In the end, my journey to witness the solar eclipse and explore Austin with Felicia was nothing short of magical. From the awe-inspiring sight of totality to the charming streets of downtown Austin, every moment was filled with a sense of joy and adventure.

I am deeply grateful to Felicia for her warmth, generosity, and friendship, which made this experience truly unforgettable. As I reflect on this visit, I’m reminded once again of the importance of seizing the day and celebrating the connections we make along the way. Here’s to embracing life’s moments, both big and small, with open arms and grateful hearts. Carpe diem!

Come join the discussion!

Share your own Solar Eclipse experiences or favorite “Carpe Diem” moments in the comments below or on the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Page!

G-Weeks: Goodness, Gardner, God and Groups

Websites Spreading Goodness

As we Gather to Give our Goodbyes to G-Weeks, I want to first Galvanize this Group by making you aware of websites spreading Goodness.

The homepage of CarpeDiemDay.Com lists a Group of Great Websites including:

I could Gush about the Gallery of Game-changing content in these Gazettes. They are Gems that remind us that the world is filled with Generosity and Goodness.

I discovered this Gift of G-Words as well as the Good Good Good Website itself, thanks to Google earlier this year! (This Gal is GaGa about Google!)

Gardner Park

Great Gal with her Gorgeous Greyhound

It’s always my Goal to have a microadventure celebrating my theme letter. For G-Weeks, my Groovy Gal-pal, Becky, aGreed to meet up at Gardner Park with her dogs, Jack and Carla.

Carla is a Gorgeous Greyhound who Galavants and Gallops at such speeds, you can’t help but Get Giddy! Go, Carla, Go!

Jack will also make you Giggle; his is more of a Geriatric Gait, his Gaze filled with Genuine Gumption.

G-Weeks Gathering

Besides a Dog Park, Gardner Park Garnered Gardens and a Gravity Swing. Even as a Grownup, I Glibly Glided down the Green track with Gusto.

We topped off the Gardner Gathering with Grapes, Gastronomy and Gabbing about Gifts and Gadgets at The Granary.

God’s Grace

On the weekends that I don’t write my Goofy alliteration blog posts, my Goal is to write something with more Gravitas. Last Sunday was Easter. I was able to attend a Gorgeous sunrise service at Holmes Beach.

Easter Sunrise Service on Holmes Beach

The final song they played at the service was Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah with lyrics telling the Easter story. (I have a long history with the song, Hallelujah, which may be more appropriate to discuss during H weeks.)

Getting back to G’s, as tears came Gushing down my cheeks, I realized how intertwined Grief, Gratitude, and Grace are. That through our deepest Grief, God’s Grace promises us the Gift of eternal life.

I’m Guessing God, is Giving me a Gold star for my faithful revelation, though perhaps a Gaffe to be Goofing around, Going on about G-words. I mean G-sus! (God, I hope the fact that I didn’t spell His name right, makes it OK to say that.)

Groups

I am so Grateful for Groups and Gatherings and all the Goodness we Get to enjoy. The Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group was full of fun enGagement, as always.

I Geek-out on the Gibberish and GobbledyGook!

Geez!

R.R. Garcia Gave us Grasshoppers and Green Grass. Heidi shared a Glorious Gratitude Green photo.

Let’s Get out and Garden, Golf, or Goof-off for the weekend, as we say Goodbye to G-Weeks. Come Monday, it’s Hello to H-Weeks!

Visit Finland: Learning about Sisu

A week or so ago, my daughter-in-law forwarded me this article about a Happiness Hack initiative sponsored by Visit Finland.

Being the Happiness expert that I am, I’d heard that Finland had won the #1 Happiest Country award for the 7th year straight. However, I hadn’t been aware that they were giving away a free trip to Helsinki for 5 lucky winners!

The challenge was to create a video describing a Happiness Hack and why we should be selected.

My submission for the Helsinki Happiness Hacks Challenge

Happiness Hacks

I was very confident about the Happiness Hack portion of this challenge. Ever since 2010, Craig’s final year, I’ve been studying happiness! I’ve created more content about Happiness than any other topic, including a series of videos asking people what makes them happy.

My first “What Makes You Happy” video

Visit Finland: Find Your Inner Finn

But why should they select me to go to Finland? What could I learn by visiting Finland myself? What could I pass on to others? I decided I needed to find out more about how Finland was winning this #1 rating in Happiness year after year.

I found Visit Finland’s 2023 Happiness Masterclass: Find Your Inner Finn. This series of 5 videos is available to everyone for free. It describes the unique aspects of the Finland that sets the country and culture apart. (By the way, I added the link for Find Your Inner Finn to the CarpeDiemDay.com Landing Page.)

Each of the 5 videos in the Masterclass were Finnspirational, doing a deeper dive into Finland’s culture, environment, and traditions. The class that I was most interested in was the third in the series about Health and Balance.

The Finnish concept of Sisu

The third class in Visit Finland’s Happiness Masterclass was titled, “Fluxing with April Rinne.” April talked about the importance of trust, embracing change, and living with uncertainty. As an Agile coach, these are all concepts I’ve taught myself. When I went to connect with April in LinkedIn, I saw that, in fact, we have many shared connections in the Agile Leadership space.

However, the Finnish concept of Sisu was new to me. April described this as “the art of inner strength.” I did more digging on Sisu and learned what an important part it plays in Finnish culture.

It sounds like the closest translation in English is resilience. Here is a video interview I did with Nic Friedman about resilience in Season 3 of my Carpe Diem Connections podcast.

This concept of Sisu or resilience is so meaningful to me and so difficult to describe. When I think about it, I’m usually on the verge of crying… not out of sympathy, but out of admiration. Showing such amazing strength in the face of adversity is a heroic trait.

Finland’s Recent Tragedy

I spent the weekend falling in love with Finland. Last night I submitted my Helsinki Happiness Hacks video on TikTok. Though I know getting selected is a huge long shot, I learned a lot, so I have loved this challenge.

Then this morning, in my daily CNN newsletter I read about the school shooting that happened in Helsinki yesterday.

I felt a wave of shock, sadness, and grief. Even the world’s Happiest Country is hit with unfathomable sadness. Of course, any loss of life is tragic, but I can think of nothing sadder than an innocent child being killed in a school shooting.

In the midst of our happiness, we’ll experience hardships, tragedies, and challenges. I have faith that Finland, thanks to sisu, will remain strong through this and other hardships. They will remain a leader in World Happiness. They will help the rest of us to “Find our Inner Finn.”

Thank you, Visit Finland, for sponsoring this initiative. Thank you for all you’re doing to spread happiness throughout the world.


The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.

Walt Disney Company