Last night I learned a couple of lessons in happiness. The occasion was an informal reunion of my husband’s 1963 high school class. It wasn’t the every-ten-years formal event, just a gathering organized by Shirley V. (the “class mom” my spouse says) of school mates who were around and wanted to spend a few hours together at Harry’s Hof Brau. I knew some of the women through Facebook and also via this blog, but if we met at the last formal reunion I attended (in 1983), none of us remembered.
My readers know that happiness is a subject I come back to time and again, likely because it is something we all seek and it is sometimes (or often) elusive. Take the current political divisions (please! take them!), COVID, the next flu coming our way, our grown kids, their kids. As Roseanne Rosannadanna used to say, “It’s always something. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.” And after all these years, there are lots of “anothers”—divorces, deaths of spouses, serious illnesses—the normal results of living a long life. But everybody at Harry’s was happy to see each other.
A conversation I had last night with Marcia F. R. somehow very quickly got around to the subject of happiness. Marcia has had the usual allotment of difficulties, and she remains very happy. How does she do it? She looks for the happinesses in daily life. What I too often see as burdens (appointments, weeding, grocery shopping, blah, blah, blah) Marcia views as opportunities: fixing a problem, being outdoors, running into friends, creating opportunities to meet new people. She thinks about being happy. She notices that she’s happy.
Arthur C. Brooks* writes a weekly happiness column, How to Build a Life, in The Atlantic and also has a podcast (How to Build a Happy Life) devoted to the subject. And (whaddaya know?) he has a similar prescription for happiness:
Notice the connection between physical pain and unhappiness
Practice a form of spirituality: religion, meditation, other means
Don’t suffer alone: build bonds of friendship
HAVE A HAPPY WEEK!
Photo by moi