“Have a happy day!”

A nice lady just told me to “have a happy day.” Barring unforseen events I expect to, more-or-less, but it got me to thinking about what that means. What, exactly (or even generally) is a happy day? I mean, I get “joy.” “Have a great day” I say a lot myself.  But “happy?”  Is it a day without pain, a day without conflict; a day without problems? Is it a day when everything goes my way and I feel like I’m king of the hill?

I’ve been fortunate enough, despite some powerful setbacks, to have a mostly good life, if you overlook the 20-odd years as an active alcoholic. My recovery has so far been successful. I’ve settled the spiritual issues that bothered me in my early years — principally due to being trapped in a religion for which I wasn’t suited. That’s all in the past. My kids are healthy, and if not wealthy they’re wise enough to carry on a sensible conversation. I have a comfortable relationship with myself, my spouse, and the people around me. Those who have chosen not to have a relationship engender some regret, but it’s not ruining my life. I make a good living. People pay me for doing the things I’m good at, including writing, and I figure I’m lucky not to be asking folks “Do you want fries with that?”

I really don’t know. I imagine a “happy day” means different things to different people. A person who suffers with chronic pain probably considers a day when their meds are getting the job done pretty happy. Other problems are less amenable to chemical solutions, and I suppose even people who are inclined to worry about such things have few happy moments from time to time. But one of the things that meditation has taught me is to look at things and then let them go, and most of the time I’m fairly good at that. If it can’t be dealt with right now, I am able to move on and then address whatever it is at the appropriate time. Sometimes that works for several minutes on end. 🙂

I don’t know. I think maybe rather than a happy day, I’d prefer a fulfilled day; a day after which I feel as though I’ve done something useful — not necessarily accomplishing something tangible, but still being able to look back at the day and say, “OK. Good day. Paid some more dues.”

This isn’t supposed to be deep thought, here.  Just musing.

What about you?

3 thoughts on ““Have a happy day!”

  1. Lois Croft

    A happy day, is one where at the end of the day, when you lay your head on the pillow and contemplate sleep, you say, “Thank you God, yes, it’s been a happy day. I accomplished many of the things I wanted to do. I had some surprises that made me think and maybe smile, and I made a positive difference in someone’s life.”

  2. kateshrewsday

    Thankyou for this fantastic post. Permission to ramble? You can always delete it later…

    What is happy? Your wellwisher sounds saccharine, and it doesn’t feel to me like she’s wishing you real happiness. Is happiness joy? CS Lewis said joy was a stab of longing. That doesn’t have the ring of happiness about it. Too many strings attached.

    Last year I went through a desolate event, and I was so full of fury I never thought happiness could be possible again. But very soon afterwards, despite my anguish, I’d look up in the middle of some inconsequential activity and I’d think, this is ok. I’m not miserable, right now.

    Of course the fury would soon return, and with full force.

    But I’d be watching a sunset, or walking through the forest, listening to the wind in the leaves, and there it would be again. A moment of something better than equilibrium.

    I think one of the great secrets of our lives is recognising the worth of the small puddles of contentment that appear, for the length of time they are there. They should not be confused with sentiment: when my daughter was born I felt blank but I was deeply happy.

    I would like to think these moments, which I would argue are happiness, are universal to us all, but maybe that’s naive. But I agree with the need to look at the moment and move on. And sometimes it takes courage to face that moment of happiness, knowing pain will inevitably follow: because that is the nature of life.


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