Sunday, September 4, 2016

There's nothing wrong with being happy

I recently read the Oatmeal cartoon: How to be Perfectly Unhappy.  And about 10 years ago I probably would have identified strongly with it.  But not today, especially the part at the end where the cartoonist throws doubt on whether anybody is habitually happy.

The  things is, people are all different.  Not just different from each other, but also different across time.  In fact the good news is, that with age, people tend to get happier. That has certainly been true for me. Most of the time I am probably in a sort of vague relaxed mode and I am periodically neurotic, stressed, or melancholic, but on a regular basis and for long periods--yes, I am happy.

Today I paid $115 for a workman to tell me my 38 yer old AC/Heater combi unit has blown a fuse so old they don't even carry it, with unknown serious wire damage, so that it needs to be turned off and probably replaced--no doubt at great expense.

How do I feel?  I feel happy.

Today my dog jumped out the window, ran off to chase a rabbit, vanished for about 10 minutes and reappeared bleeding profusely.

How do I feel?  I feel happy.

I don't feel happy anywhere near all the time, but I do feel happy a lot.  That is not some kind of bragging; that is just the truth.  I probably feel happy a lot because my environment is favorable.  I earn an adequate income in a stable job surrounded by wonderful people.  I own about 5% of my own home and surround myself with things I like.

I never became a tenured professor, I never did the family-and-kids thing, I live a lot further from my Mum than I would like.  I experience day-to-day  annoyances like most people.  Broken appliances I can't afford to replace, disobedient dogs, Chicago weather.

Much of the happiness in my life is the product of happenstance, and I am grateful for it.  But when I am confronted with messages that say personal happiness is so rare that its very existence is questionable? No. Just no.  There is nothing wrong with having your emotional thermostat set in another position. But equally...

I am happy. And there is nothing wrong with that.

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