It’s that all-elusive happiness thing. Many of us, and I’ve been guilty of this, have a sense it’s something we’re working toward, something we’ll achieve someday, if we’re patient. “I’ll be happy when I get that new job, or when the kids are settled, or when the house is paid for, or, or, or….” I’ve decided recently, however, that happiness is a choice.
I teach. The other day I had students in the computer lab taking their required test for graduation. They were behaving splendidly, so when one whispered to me, “Is it okay if I play a computer game since I’m done?” I said, “Sure. Just be really quiet.”
The next thing I knew there were three boys sitting side by side, the one in the middle still testing, the two on either side of him playing the same game, leaning across the testing boy to laugh at each other’s gaming progress. I walked over- blood pressure boiling- and did one of those whisper screams: “Excuse me! This young man right here is trying to take a test on which his graduation depends!” The guilty boys looked appropriately chagrined and got quiet.
I might have become enraged. I did, momentarily. But as I walked away, I found myself grinning and shaking my head. Goofy kids. I’m still amused, which makes me way more happy than being stressed does, at how totally oblivious these two were to everything other than themselves at that moment.
We can choose to be happy. Instead of being angry or sad or unhappy, we can be amused. Most importantly, we can laugh and choose to do what makes us happy.
So now, perhaps, you’re stressed, thinking, “If I knew what would make me happy, I’d be doing it, and I’d already be happy.” In fact, you may be irritated by what you find a harebrained suggestion.
What I’m saying is that, right now, you can choose to do what makes you happy. What was it, when you were younger, for instance, that you loved to do? Do that, as often and as much as you can. If you liked to color, color. Or better yet, take an art class. I still twirl my baton. It makes me happy. If you liked to play house, redecorate. You don’t have to do it all at once and you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Just start to add and replace and rearrange. Maybe you loved to read and have lost that love because you don’t have the time. Find the time. Turn off the inane chatter of the television set when it’s really only providing a distraction from your boredom, make yourself a cup of tea, or better yet, pour a glass of wine, curl up in your most comfortable chair, and read. If you liked to dance, dance. Note: Guys, I’m not sure what to tell you here, but I’m sure you can make the leap. Do what makes you happy.
Laugh. See the humor. And most importantly, do not take it all, yourself included, too seriously.