A season to be happy
My too kind and loving wife said that it is the holiday season, and I should be happy. My first reaction was to say bah-humbug, mind your own business.
There is a good deal of pressure in America to be happy. If you are not happy, then by golly you better get happy.
If you must, go see a counselor, advisor, life coach, therapist, or take a happy pill. Do something, but don’t sit around being unhappy, unless doing that makes you happy.
I mean for reals, America was founded upon the principle of happy. The Declaration of Independence clearly ranks happiness up there with packing guns and 27 other complaints against King George III.
Thomas Jefferson wrote “they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
However, it is important that we understand that we are not entitled to happiness, only the pursuit thereof. So, if you are an American there is a certain amount of pressure to be happy or at least pursing it. We went to war and gained our independence just so we could pursue happiness.
But what if you are inherently moody, grumpy, mean, ornery, or chemically imbalanced? I am probably all of these at the same time; certainly, some of my friends and relatives are.
My too kind and loving wife never is; she is either happy or very happy…or taking a nap…which makes her happy.
Adding to this problem is that everyone has a different definition of happy. The last self-help book I read, and I have read them all, told me that I wasn’t really happy, that I only thought I was happy.
That didn’t make me happy. But that got me thinking if I think I am happy but I am not, why couldn’t I be unhappy but really I am happy.
In 1964 Harvey Ross Ball invented the “Smiley Face”.
First, with a name like that how could he be happy? He invented the smiley face for an insurance company and was only paid $45 for it; that is all he ever received for it.
I’ll bet that didn’t make him happy. The Smiley Face puts pressure on us to be happy. There it is staring at us, taunting us, demanding that we be happy. Don’t worry be happy.
Worrying is one of my strengths. I am pretty good at guilt too. I worry about things that can never happen. Sometimes I even combine them because I feel guilty for worrying.
Think of all the famous smiles. According to one art historian, the coy Mona Lisa smile represents a “visual representation of the idea of happiness.”
And what about Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire Cat, in the book Alice In Wonderland? The last thing that disappears is the cat’s smile; don’t you find that odd?
How can I be happy. As soon as I retired, my retirement lost all my money. Honestly, I couldn’t make an omelet with my nest egg now.
I am trying to get my too kind and loving wife a newspaper route, so I don’t have to go back to writing for money. It makes me feel so yucky.
I told my too kind and loving wife that I wasn’t happy because COVID ruined everything, inflation has made it so I can’t afford my Pepsi, social security is going broke, the housing market has collapsed, and the only happy people are the CEO crooks that get raises for laying off the workers.
They have done studies and people that use metrics (they are probably not happy because they are studying metrics) have come up with enough statistics to show what happy people do and where they live.
One of the happiest places in the world is the Netherlands. I point out that prostitution and marijuana are both legal there. But I do not offer any opinion as to whether there is a cause-and-effect relationship.
So here I am trying to be happy. I think I am one of those people that can’t be really happy unless I am unhappy. This is probably left-over trauma from teachers yelling “wipe that smile off your face Mr. Torres”.
My entire upbringing was that way; if it feels good, stop it. If it tastes good, don’t eat it. If you’re having too much fun quit it, remember all the suffering in Paraguay.
So, I am conflicted…I want to feel happy I would even like to feel merry, you know with Christmas and all.
I decided I need some help. Google tells me to stop chasing happiness because too many people connect happiness to the achievement of certain goals or aspirations and that I should practice looking inwards…build my self-esteem…and be present.
I decided it was time for a change, so I decided to do something about it.
I wasn’t sure how to look inward, so I looked in my belly button and found a Cheeto. That seemed like a good start.
Then I bought myself a present, scratched through all my goals and aspirations like exercise and reading a book a week, and I quit chasing happiness by taking a nap in my big, overstuffed chair.
Happiness can just find me but I hope she doesn’t wake me from my nap.