A few days ago my very good friend called asking if I’d be home for a while. “I need to talk to you,” she said with such intensity that it scared me a little. Imagining all kinds of things I waited impatiently for her to appear at my door.
Immediately upon entering she asked, “Are you happy?” I was stunned by the question and queried why she was asking. “Because,” she answered, “it seems so many people I know are unhappy, and I want to know about you.”
After thinking for a few minutes, I told her I wasn’t sure I was always happy but that my life was good in so many ways it was easy to be content. That seemed to satisfy her and we went on to have a wonderful conversation about being happy.
Since then I’ve thought a lot about our talk and what prompted it asking over and over again what is happy. Among the dictionary definitions is feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. OK, so if I am content I must be happy, right?
The truth is I’m not always happy. When things aren’t right in my family, I am very long faced. A bad day playing tennis or duplicate bridge can put me in a funk. Conflict of any kind causes my emotional barometer to be very unsteady. Having a friend learn that cancer has returned or who suffers from dementia breaks my heart. Losing a family member or a friend upsets the rhythms of my life.
Is that all to say that life resembles a roller coaster? It has its ups and downs meaning we have no choice but to roll with it being sure not to let the downs become a permanent condition. Being happy can be such a challenge because some days are just bad days or as one friend says, “There’s no such thing as a bad day. Some days are just better than others.” When those days occur, there is a choice to make and that is whether to embrace life with all it has to offer or to remain stuck in place. Can you guess my choice?
Boy, I don’t have all the answers for what it takes to be happy, but I do think that part of it is the ability to move on, to choose how you are going to let life affect you. What I know for sure is that I am on the downside having lived more than half my life and I don’t want to waste a single minute being unhappy. I want to find joy in the ordinary of each day and in loving and being loved.
How about you? What is your take on happy?
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