Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. —Mahatma Gandhi
Today is International Day of Happiness. The United Nations has declared it, so I guess we don’t really have any choice but to go along with it. Please, everyone together now, BE HAPPY! Here, I’ll even give you some music to go along with it:
There, did that make you feel happy? If so, my work here is done. There’s no need for you to read any further, we’re good. I won’t be offended if you go outside and do something now.
What’s that? You’re still not happy? Yeah, I feel you. Most days it takes more than just saying, “I think I’ll be happy today,” for us to actually feel happy. Happiness can be elusive and is especially difficult to find when one is surrounded by jackasses and Republicans. Yes, I just made this post political when it didn’t need to be. Sue a duck. Politics is actually one of the primary barricades to anyone, anywhere, ever feeling happy at all. I don’t know of a faster way to suck the happy air right out of a room than with politics.
Happiness isn’t something one can mandate, which is why I find it interesting that the United Nations would choose to name a day about environmental conservancy the International Day of Happiness. There are so very many ways to be happy, to make others happy, and to bring happiness the entire planet that have absolutely nothing to do with the environment. Well, at least, they don’t seem to meet that qualification.
Stop and think about the things that bring happiness, whether to yourself or others. Giving someone flowers can bring happiness; helping someone plant flowers might bring them happiness even longer, and it’s the right time of year to be doing that sort of thing. Going for a hike in the woods can make one very happy, and hiking and enjoying nature is so much better for the planet than driving around in circles looking for a parking place at the mall. Helping a child get a drink of water so they don’t waste a gallon in the process makes people happy and helps keep the planet sustainable at the same time. So yes, being environmentally friendly can result in happiness. The UN even created this video to prove it:
Uhm, is it me or does Red not really look all that happy about any of the environmentally friendly things he was doing? Maybe Red’s just an old grouch, like me. We old grouches don’t do happiness without a damn good reason and not too many of our good reasons are especially environmentally friendly. I hate to be the one to second-guess the United Nations on anything, but the correlation here environmental activism and happiness doesn’t seem to make a great deal of sense. The planet is not sustainable in its current condition. Getting it back to a state of sustainability is going to be work, not fun, and much of that work is not going to be happiness-inducing. Too much environmental work involves politics, and politics makes no one happy but the politicians.
So, what does make people happy? Everyone’s list is going to be different, but let me just toss out a few ideas that I know would make me happy.
- Free chocolate for everyone!
- More attention toward making coffee growing and harvesting sustainable so that coffee prices can maybe come down a dime or two.
- More photography clients.
- More naked photography clients.
- More naked photography clients who come bearing chocolate.
- More naked people, in general.
- Long’s donuts.
- Children who actually listen the first time you tell them to do something rather than waiting until you’ve told them 4,478,926 times before moving.
- Having a babysitter on a Friday or Saturday night
- Very large bottles of scotch in every room of the house.
- New cameras, lenses, lighting, and all that other cool photography equipment I can’t afford because there aren’t more naked photography clients.
- Guests who come bearing chocolate … and coffee … and scotch. Naked.
I could go on. There are a lot of things that have the potential to bring happiness into my life. Sleeping in a bed rather than on the couch makes me happy. Kisses make me happy. It really isn’t all that difficult to make me happy.
So, why am I not happy more often than grouchy? Obviously, you’re not trying hard enough. Unfriendly neighborhood ordinances that require cutting the lawn too early are not environmentally friendly and do not make me happy. Having a state governor who protects corporate polluters and ruins our state’s waterways does not make me happy. A political system that protects corporate profits in the face of unprecedented climate change make me exceedingly unhappy. Fashion that uses real fur when faux is cheaper and more readily available totally pisses me off, and yes, Dennis Basso, I’m looking right at you. At the end of the day, there are far too many people doing things to upset me than there are those attempting to contribute to my happiness.
And I’m sure the same is true for almost everyone. I know two small children who are going to be extremely unhappy when I ground them to their rooms after telling them to stop running up and down the hallway 5. 387 times this morning. I have the ability to make a lot of people very unhappy without hardly even trying.
So, maybe we should all try harder. You show up naked with chocolates and I’ll not shoot the neighbor whose stereo is entirely too loud for a Sunday morning, and maybe we’ll all go for a walk later.
I hope that makes the UN happier, because you know I wouldn’t want to ruin International Day of Happiness. Would you?