I want to be Sharon Couto when I grow up.
Her effortless style, charm, and grace are rivaled only by starlets from the Golden Age of Hollywood – and she is so much more than a pretty face. Sharon is a mother, grandmother, wife, friend, writer, and retired teacher. But perhaps the label that impresses me the most is triathlete.
At 61, Sharon swam, ran, and biked her way to the finish line of the Eagleman 70.3 Ironman.
I’m thrilled to share her – and her happiness interview – with you today.
How do you define happiness?
Happiness to me is a feeling of being aware of the present in the strongest way… going forth in life, considering the past, but feeling worthy and joyful in the present. There is a purity in the present that will never happen again, and mindfulness of this, celebrating “the moment” is a great gift in discovering Happiness. Happiness is simple, really, if we use our senses to FEEL it in each and every moment. It is always there, just waiting for us to discover it.
How do you incorporate what makes you happy into your day-to-day life?
Well, I am very aware of my spirit of control.
I stop to admire flowers and babies and art and food. I read. I call or visit my children and grandchildren and my Mom almost every day. I exercise! I build goals into my exercise that tests my spirit and challenges me both mentally and physically. I run. I swim. I cycle. I practice Yoga.
I came to all of these things later in life, which gives me, I think, such a great appreciation of my health and ability to DO these things. These activities give me lots of time to think, to be mindful of my SELF, which makes me mindful of others. I feel blessed – HAPPY – to be healthy.
I manage time very well; I don’t overlook moments of beauty or love or my passions. It’s amazing what can be fit into 24 hours if we concentrate on moments rather than TIME!
Are there any “shoulds” you’ve had to let go of in order to pursue your happiness?
Oh, yes; there’s one great big “should.” I’ve had to let go of that feeling that women, in particular, are happiness-providers.
I can’t crawl into anyone’s soul or heart or brain or body to build a stronger spirit for anyone else. I can teach and advise and offer experience and the wisdom that comes with age, but I cannot make someone feel inward happiness. I can bring happiness to the table, to the occasion, to the moment… but happiness is mindfully and uniquely individual.
What do you do when you aren’t happy?
I think I wear “happy” always, but if I’m feeling sad or overwhelmed or angry about something, I generally pray. I pray every single day. I have a deep faith in God and in my angels whom I love.
Oh, I’m good at ranting – cleansing, if you will. too! I get my feelings out rather well, thank you. I’m the master of obscenities. I need balance, honesty and I need everything to be fair, so that particular passion fuels more passion. I’m a Libra.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about happiness?
It sounds and seems so simple, but it’s the truth. I’ve passed this advice onto hundreds of people, including my children, now my grandchildren and to my many, many students when I was teaching. Of course there are times when we can’t bear to wear the “happiness crown”, but there are so many more times when we can put it on and genuinely let it glow.