The one thing every person should experience...

It was a surprise Astrid sensed was coming, but it didn't make it any less wonderful.

Young woman blowing up a balloon wearing a party hat

Photo: Getty Images

It was a surprise I sensed coming. Emails snapped shut when I peeked over my husband’s shoulder, attempts to go out with girlfriends this week were rebuffed, and my Saturday afternoon was hijacked by my sister who insisted taking me out for a shopping trip. With a milestone birthday looming, I suspected a surprise party was in store.

I was right.

And while I stood frozen with nerves on my front porch just before I walked through the door — the centre of attention is just not a place I prefer to be — once I walked in and was greeted with sprays of silly string, yells and cheers of “Surprise!” well…it was a pretty good place to be.

It’s all left me with the feeling that everyone should have a surprise party of some sort in their lives. Because as you walk into a room and look at the circle of friends and family standing there waiting for you — your best friend from high school, your parents, your parent friends, colleagues and friends old and new — it’s one of those moments that puts your life in check.

Seeing that room welcome me, and later with my kids joining the party, it gave me a sense of satisfaction, joy, comfort, security and support to know that these are the people in my life. In short, it’s left me high with happiness days later. While the celebration itself was filled with joy, the reflection afterwards is what gives me gratitude — running through my warm conversations the night before, catching up with friends and family I don’t see enough of and reading the warm and heartfelt-written cards left behind for me to open the next day.

This party came at a time when many studies say I should actually be at my unhappiest — I’ve got two young children, I work and balance parenting, I struggle to manage my time and my family’s time. And while day to day life is busy, when you walk into a room packed with people from all parts of your life that are there to celebrate you, how could it not make you happy?

And as readers of this blog have read before, happiness in life comes partly from building social connections — and a party like this is a good reminder to keep building the connections I have to ensure I’m happy for a long, long time.
How to be Happy: 50 Extraordinary Revelations For more happiness articles get Chatelaine’s How to be Happy: 50 Extraordinary Revelations on Love, Life, Lattes & Summer Camp, $4.99, on Kobo or iTunes.

Get Chatelaine in your inbox!

Our very best stories, recipes, style and shopping tips, horoscopes and special offers. Delivered a couple of times a week.