It’s a seemingly simple question. For duPont Registry Tampa Bay’s first Health & Happiness Issue, we asked readers and advertisers and Facebook friends, and asked ourselves, too. Some of the answers were expansive, some short and sweet, some clipped and just faintly sarcastic.
But is the question really all that simple? It might prompt you to consider the whole of your life — and whether your answer is a laundry list or the first thing that comes to mind, just thinking about it can be its own reward.
Or reading about it. That’s been making us happy at dRTB, and we hope you feel the same. Browse through the gallery, where you’ll find the respondents in alphabetical order by last name. Or read the list below, which is ordered in more or less random fashion.
My family comes first and makes me happiest. I love when my daughter visits from college, or when I get to spend quality time with my son on a golf course. My wife Kerry is my best friend, and we are proud of our children and find joy in spending time with them and our dogs (there’s been many over the years, thanks to our role as ‘puppy raisers’ for Southeastern Guide Dogs). As a public servant, happiness is hearing positive feedback from a constituent or city employee. It is gratifying to be mayor at this pivotal moment in St. Pete’s history, as we truly come of age. There are, of course, many challenges and stressors running one of Florida’s biggest cities, but it remains the best job in the world and coming to work always makes me happy.
Chelsea McMillan, Founder, Sunshine State Goods
Anytime I witness a child smile authentically at something, it feels magical to me.
Catherine Chavanne, French instructor
Any moment spent with my adult daughters who live here in Florida, but also my yearly trip to Paris to see my parents and friends over there, and of course my strolls in the city. Or, to put it another way… Tout moment que je peux passer avec mes grandes filles qui vivent ici, en FL, mais aussi mon voyage annuel à Paris pour voir mes parents et mes amis, et bien sûr mes promenades dans la ville.
Laura Fage, Signature Events/Patina
A Sunday afternoon at home with my nose in a book and a cocktail by my side… poolside. Day turns into night, the pool is illuminated, and I float in the warm water in perfect silence looking up at the starry, starry night.
Bill Brown, President and Chief Chocolate Officer, William Dean Chocolates
Honestly, I am somebody who wants others to be happy. That makes me happy. And I am always happy on Friday nights when I make my traditional trip to the movies, get my popcorn and sit down and watch whatever is playing. It makes me nostalgic and happy!
Whitney Murphy, Studio Manager, Orange Theory Fitness Largo
As cliché as this is, fitness makes me happy. I like to sweat, I like the feeling, I love the people in the community. If I’m not working out, I’m not happy. (Answered during dRTB Live 4/2)
Bob Gualtieri, Pinellas County Sheriff
Spending time with my daughters: Watching the Lightning with Lauren and any chance I get to spend time with Jordanna and Christina.
Michael Tomor, Executive Director, Tampa Museum of Art
Working in my garden. We live in this great little paradise. I had a greenhouse attached to my garage in Pennsylvania. Now all my pots are outside in my yard.
David Yates, Chief Executive Officer, Clearwater Aquarium; Co-Producer, Dolphin Tale; Executive Producer, Dolphin Tale 2
How Winter the dolphin’s story brings transformative encouragement to sick and injured kids and wounded soldiers. It doesn’t get old….happens every day.
Ian Prosser, Botanica International Design Studio
Being able to work with flowers, of course, and create beautiful moments in families’ lives. I love to potter in the garden. My grandchildren are a source of great joy.
Cindy Stovall, Host, Beauty & The ‘Burg podcast; Columnist, St. Pete Life
Besides just being grateful that I woke up this morning in St. Pete, there are several things that make me truly happy. As a Mom, my son living and thriving in London, on the adventure of a lifetime, makes me happy. As a sister, aunt and friend, when I get to be in the presence of people I love, it makes me happy. As a journalist, interviewing people I would otherwise just fangirl over makes me downright giddy. As a lap swimmer, hitting that mile marker without requiring oxygen makes me feel like a boss. As an art lover, passion on the stage, color on the canvas and music in my ears makes me happy. Turns out, I’m a pretty lucky girl.
Jon Arterton & James Mack, One City Chorus
We give thanks every day for the opportunity to live and make music together in such a supportive, vibrant city.
Michelle Wilder Larson, Executive Director, Theatre eXceptional
Happiness wrapped up in the joy of others knows no comparison. For me, creating Theatre eXceptional, a professional theater company that actively recruits actors with disabilities to share the stage with area professional actors, musicians, designers and technicians, has been a source of real happiness not only for me but also for the incredible staff who works with us… Watching our actors with disabilities working hard to hone their craft, becoming more confident and creative and showing strong abilities and talents that might otherwise go unnoticed, shows me the work we do is important. Watching our professional cast and crew work side by side to mentor, encourage, support our actors with disabilities is truly remarkable. Unfulfilled dreams are the saddest aspect of anyone’s life; knowing that I have a part in giving deserving, talented actors the opportunity to learn and to perform in a professional environment — to fulfill those dreams — is a source of incredible joy.
Brooke Palmer Kuhl, r.s.b.p. Events+PR
What brings me the most health and happiness in my life are: My pit bulls Lily and Scarlett, and my Husky Maya; my wonderful husband Craig, and the best 60 minutes you will spend on you, Orange Theory Fitness. Additional happiness is found through my obsession with TouchTunes, which leads many to hear any Yacht Rock genre song, Journey and Johnny Gill.
Rose Bobier, Radiance MediSpa
Enjoying yoga on the beach at sunset… nothing better than the breeze, sound of the waves, colorful sunset followed by relaxing at the end of the class to look up at the stars… definitely my happy place.
Joe Bardi, Communications Director, Marxent
My family, playing my guitar, the last little bit of waiting for Game of Thrones to come back (before we knew what was going to happen and everyone started fighting about whether or not it was any good), chicken parm, when it rains in the morning and I’m somehow able to sleep in, my band’s EP hitting Spotify, the idea that this too shall pass and there will be life after Trump.
Dr. Kanika Tomalin, Deputy Mayor/City Administrator, City of St. Petersburg
Moving my city forward in a way that reflects its potential and that of all of the people fortunate to call it home is what makes me happy. This actualization is motivated by and manifested most importantly for me in the smiles of my children every time they realize that they are growing up in the most special place on Earth…made so by their presence here, all they’ll contribute, and all others who equally love this city have contributed since 1903.
Brian Franzese, Bella Vino Wine Market
Selling (and tasting) wine makes me happy! Fine dining with my wife, family, and friends makes me happy! Traveling to new places makes me happy! Spending time with my family and dogs makes me happy! Playing tennis and golf makes me happy!
Penny Vinik, Vice Chair, Board of Trustees, Tampa Museum of Art
Being with my kids.
Alan Mohney, Jr. and Debbie Yones, actors
Alan: She makes me happy. Working with her on a show makes me the happiest. She is my best friend and an incredible creative collaborator who challenges me in all of the best ways.
Debbie: No-holding back laughter at a shared silliness, a hand-squeeze that means “I know what you are thinking,” an inside joke that can be reused for years!, the feeling of my pulse quickening and my heart filling seeing my love be brilliant on stage (and off), seeing the same amount of pride and excitement when it’s my turn up there, knowing that if I should stumble, there is someone right there that won’t let me miss a step…
Robin Franklin Nigh, Arts Programs Manager, City of Tampa
Walking early in the morning with clear skies and lots of stars.
Todd Bates, photographer
Answering random questions on Facebook!