Is happiness elusive? A Wake Forest professor has just published a book that praises the state of melancholy and thinks that happiness is overrated. Let’s be honest, we know that not every day is a bed of roses, but you sure hope for it. Along the way, there are usually some thorns, and resulting scratches but that is reality.
It seems to me that kids have a corner market on happiness. For the most part kids are upbeat and content with the occasional tantrum thrown in when they don’t get to have their favorite ice cream before dinner, or to stay up late and watch Nemo for the third time. Kids are creative in how they have fun and approach life. They are just generally happy and don’t require much – playing in the park, eating lollipops with friends, jumping on the trampoline – all of these will do.
Why can’t we be more like them? Is it because we are obsessed with our career path, finding Mr. or Mrs. Right and all the other multitude of adult concerns that block out fun? Probably. The ability to let our hair down diminishes as we age – at least for most (Jimmy Buffett types don't apply). This doesn’t mean we never have fun, but we have it more sporadically and with effort.
So, what’s the answer? For starters, when is the last time you went to the park without being plugged into your iPod or cell phone? You can’t remember – that’s what I thought. Try just being in the moment (this takes time, so don’t feel bad if it doesn’t happen overnight) and enjoy nature, the beauty of flowers and the great outdoors. Gradually, you will feel the cares of life lifting, if only for a few hours. It is cheaper and better than therapy and will give you a new perspective to face your challenge of the day in this thing called life.