I have been thinking a lot lately about happiness and why it seems to be so dang elusive to folks. It appears that most of us are seeking after it and many of us don’t experience it nearly as often as we would like. So, one of the most important questions in our lives becomes, “why is that?” Why are there so many people in the world living unhappy lives? No-one wants unhappiness. All of us have only one life to live (yolo, yolo). And at the not so tender age of fifty-one, this life is awfully doggone short!
I believe that happiness is a natural state of mind as you would expect from a God of love who invented the idea of people. So there must be some stuff that comes up and hinders happiness, right? If you really give it some thought, happiness is the absence of things that make us unhappy. Children are happy. Their unhappiness lasts about 30 seconds and then they get right back to being happy. Maybe we should explore how children manage to stay happy in order to learn how we can do the same.
Perhaps first we should dispel an adult myth. Adults have somehow been led to believe that children are happy because they don’t have responsibility. But, whoever proved that responsibility makes us unhappy? No-one-ever! Our responsibilities don’t take away happiness, our attitude towards our responsibilities take away happiness. Worry and fear bring happy feelings to an abrupt end. Have you ever been feeling good about yourself and good about life, then encounter some fearful thought that causes you to start stressing? Your happy, happy is replaced by some negative potentiality that probably won’t happen, but it doesn’t matter because the damage is already done…unhappy. Children don’t roll that way. If they feel afraid they tell you about it immediately; expect you to fix it and get right back to being happy trusting you got it covered. Hmmm? Maybe that’s how we are supposed to function. So you ask, who am I supposed to tell? Well, His name is God and He owns the rights to the human prototype! Fear doesn’t come from God and left unchecked it will eat away at your life and subsequent happiness like a cancer. You really need God in order to be truly happy. Once you get to know Him a little, you can then tell Him immediately when something scares you; expect Him to fix it (or protect you) and get back to being happy trusting that He’s got you covered! You can’t say that it is hard to do because five year-olds do it all the time…
Another lesson we can learn from children is that they live 100% in the moment. Tomorrow is tomorrow and yesterday (or lasterday as my grandson says) is meaningless. Most of us (I’m sad to say myself included) spend way too much time rehashing our negative past (the past being just now, wait just now, wait just now…) and worrying over the future. We have trouble enjoying ourselves today because we aren’t yet living in the day. We are distracted. We can’t even have a conversation without letting our minds drift off to something that we need to do later on. Kids barely keep track of what time it is. You have to pry them away from their fun to even get them to eat something. They forget how mad you were at them yesterday because they don’t keep track of yesterday. And if they do happen to do something bad, you know what they do? They carry it around with them for 6 months? Haha you know better than that! They seek out your forgiveness as quickly as possible so they can get right back to being happy. Hmmm… How about you? What are you carrying around with you? Let it go. Tell God you are sorry (ummm my bad, Pops!) and get back to being happy. Otherwise that weight will suck the happiness right out of you for a lifetime.
Maybe one last thing, huh? Children pursue happiness. They are looking for it. If they like something you know it and if they don’t like something, you know it. If you put some food in Tristan’s mouth (my almost two-year old grandson) and he doesn’t like it, it comes right back out. He doesn’t hide his tastes or aversions (RWE). Kids don’t participate in things they don’t like to do and soon bore from the same old things. Hmmm… How many things do we do over and over and over that we don’t like to do? I don’t mean work necessarily, I mean work that we hate. How long do we dutifully remain in bad scenarios that bring us pain not pleasure? How often do we pretend to like things we don’t like? And how many of us are bored with our lives, yet continue to do the same old things over an over? Change jobs; change houses; change your routine; change how you think. You can do it. You have to do it! Happiness knows no age boundaries…
So, you’re not so happy, my friend? Why not take a lesson from the young people? Oh sure they are going to have to learn some lessons like you did, but somehow you made it right? People often accuse me of not acting my age. I take that as a compliment! Happiness is not a result of naivety, it’s a result of learning to think properly. Handle your responsibilities but do it with the mind of a young person. After all, our bodies might get old, but our minds don’t, that is of course, unless we allow them to! Get rid of fear (all of it) with God’s help. Live in the moment. And for goodness sakes, do the things you like to do and avoid the things you hate! You will find that, that elusive happiness you have been pursuing is actually pursuing you!
Life is short; be happy!