Paris: 50 People, 1 Question (What Makes You Happy?)

February is traditionally a tough month for me.

Not only is it one of the coldest (I woke up to snow covering the ground yesterday!), but the promise of spring still feels so far away. The sky is gray; days short. Then there’s that whole V-day thing right in the middle of it, but we shan’t talk about that.

I’ve been pretty social so far this month, but sometimes, all I feel like doing is being a hermit.

Hunkering down has its benefits, though. It’s a time of reflection, as well.

Lest it sound like I have a case of the winter blues…well, yes, true. But I’m really happy, too.

Here’s a video that asks people in the streets of Paris that very question: what makes you happy? It seems a simple question, but as you’ll see, people at first have a hard time answering.

It may sound strange, but this is part of what I’m sorting through these days. What does make me happy? What do I want to be doing? Where am I heading? What is my purpose? And what about this thing called love?

Thankfully, a whole ton of things give me joy and I get on a roll as soon as I start: the sun, a smile, finding just the right word. Friends. Family. A good book. A cup of tea. Chocolat chaud. Kindness. Seeing a friend’s face, even though we’re an ocean apart (thanks, Skype). Light seeping through the window. Surprises. This American Life.

And of course, Paris. Watch the video then share if you’d like. I’d love to hear:
what makes you happy?


36 Responses to “Paris: 50 People, 1 Question (What Makes You Happy?)”

  1. 1 Paris Paul P February 6, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Sleeping in and wrapped up like a toasted Fajita in bed, with these temperatures. And hitting “the zone” when writing.


  2. 3 Aurelia February 6, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    That was a really marvelous video. Thank you for sharing!

    I was surprised that no one mentioned the one thing that never fails to make me happy: swimming in the ocean. I always feel joyful when I’m neck-deep in salty water, dodging waves and frolicking in the warm surf. If only I could figure out a way to work that into my daily routine!


    • 4 paris (im)perfect February 6, 2012 at 1:58 pm

      Ah, good one! People probably didn’t mention it because if they’re anything like me, the ocean is the last thing I think about when I’m in Paris ; ) Of course, some towns on the Normandy coast aren’t that far away. Just a couple hours! When it warms up, maybe you should go for a dip!


  3. 5 Tanya in Transition February 6, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    I’m with Aurelia: there’s nothing like spending an entire day in the sea. That always makes me happy. It’s the reason we’re in Nice!

    As cheesy as it may sound, so many things make me happy. My husband’s corny jokes (mainly because they’re worse than mine); cruising the market and picking out some really good fruits & veg; the odd times when the dude at the Corsican stand forgets I’m a married woman and chats me up (he’s got lovely brown eyes with amazing lashes); and posts like this one!

    Happy Monday!!!


  4. 7 Mary Lonergan February 6, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Hi Sion! This video makes me so happy! I am sharing it with everyone! Just totally made my Monday morning! THANK YOU.


  5. 9 Adam February 6, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    I’d have been happy if they’d lopped off the first 2 minutes of that video. I couldn’t get beyond all the wackiness, but then I am a bit of a curmudgeon!


  6. 11 Ruth Sklar February 6, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Traveling makes me happy, but most of all, I adore spending time in Paris!


  7. 13 Anne February 7, 2012 at 3:56 am

    Lovely. My day completely sucked (not pulling any punches here) and this video was a good reminder to focus on what matters.


    • 14 paris (im)perfect February 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      We all have those sucky days, Anne. Glad the video helped remind you of what really matters. I’ve been battling the blues a bit, but it always helps me to go back to my “gratitude list.” Hard not to feel better after focusing on all the good stuff.


  8. 15 Hajnal February 7, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Travel. A day at the beach with a good book. Dip my feet in the water. Go for a swim. Let the warm water carry me. Back to the beach. Watch the ocean. Pick up pretty shells. Watch the ocean until the sun sets. A cuddle with my cat. Cats, anytime, whatever they do. Good food. Hours in a bookstore. A good long walk anywhere. A nice white wine. My man. Each of the above, shared with him. Friends. Days when hard work is rewarding.

    On a day like today, where things are not going the way I want them to, it is good to remember there is always so much to look forward to in life.


  9. 17 Amy Kortuem February 7, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Reading blogs by smart, thoughtful women makes me happy! Sorry I’ve been missing from these comments for a while – I’ve had my own winter hermiting and then got the raging cold/flu everybody else in Southern Minnesota has had.

    BUT, I’m back and so looking forward do reading and commenting on all this that makes me happy. (OK, harps make me happy, too…)


    • 18 paris (im)perfect February 7, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      Amy! You are too sweet! And I have so been missing you! Great to have you back! Sorry about the raging cold/flu and I of course understand the winter hermiting. I’m happy to see you pop up in my comments box whenever you feel like dropping by : )


  10. 19 Charlotte Rains Dixon February 7, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    What makes me happy is doing good work on my current WIP. And the thought of waking up in Paris with snow covering the ground.


  11. 21 Franck February 7, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    I am a very simple guy, tons of money would be enough. And that strange moment, stretchable at will, gushing of envies, that particular second when you decide the final goal of your next travel, a new city exploration put on a schedule.


  12. 22 paris (im)perfect February 7, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    I know what you mean, Franck. I just booked a hotel for a trip to Prague today! There is a rush when you decide to travel!

    Also, money wouldn’t be bad, either ; )


  13. 23 Franck February 7, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    I loved Praha, arrival in Nadrazi Holesovice station was the only ugly moment because its immediate surroundings (and fellows) are dirty and trash. (Maybe you will fly to it?) But the rest of the city is superb. I hope you are an user of the “Guide Hachette voir” (French title of course). It is a gem. Its cathedral gave me vertigos. One point, wearing good shoes is absolutely a requirement because old streets’ pavement is… could perform a character of traitor in an American film. My cristal ankles still remember it. There is two common points with Paris (it is not a coincidence if all French films about Paris first part of the last century are shot in Prague) first one: very often it looks like Paris in the fifties here and there and, second point: you have to watch its very special roofs (very sloping and designing with special tiles). Of course a writer has to loose herself in the Jewish cemetery, rainy, sunny or misty these tomb stones look like old teeth of an open jaw or a curious crowd eager to meet you. Magnificence is plural in Praha. May be it is not your first trip in this captivating city. if you did not visit a part of it before you can spare your time and avoid the pendulum scam, one: it doesn’t work because it is too expensive to maintain (in 2007), two: it is tagged and uncharming.
    Bruges will be my next nest of convolutions. (it sounds almost dubious in English, non ?)


  14. 24 Connie Wood February 8, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    • café lattes with foamed milk thick enough to stand a teaspoon in
    • cracking créme brulée with a teaspoon
    • long walks with panoramic views
    • foreign films—especially French
    • acoustic guiter music—especially Brazilian
    • the big, bright, warm color of scarlet red
    • the excitement of a crowd at a playoff game
    • hand written love notes
    • paper with texture
    • the sound of a school bell
    • the satisfaction of community service
    • my daughter’s smile


  15. 26 Audrey February 9, 2012 at 12:19 am

    Thank you for sharing that video. It made my day. Well, being back in Paris to be greeted by snow and freezing temps this morning were a mixed welcome, and leaving behind all that also makes me happy in New York, where I “really” live, but the video reminds me it’s all wonderful, here, there, and wherever. This is what happiness is. It’s the real stuff, the stuff one interviewee said makes him feel human and alive.


  16. 28 ns March 19, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Watching this made me so very happy. Thanks for posting, Sion!


  17. 35 Eamonn Keating April 4, 2012 at 9:48 pm


    We filmed in Ireland, a beautiful video, like yours that inspires you,

    Hope you enjoy,



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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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