I suppose most New Years resolutions hint at what would make the resoluter , the resolutionist, the resolver , happy . Maybe I’m wrong on that . I’m certainly no expert . I’m not much into making resolutions or pondering all that falderol much .
Oh , I have nothing , absolutely nothing , against New Years resolutions . If you make them , then all power to you . I hope that yours all come true , or come to fruition , or happen , or whatever you expect to happen does happen.
That’ll make you happy , right ? Maybe I’m naive , but I think everyone wants to be happy , with the possible exception of my friend Ivan , who told me that happiness is nothing to him , isn’t part of his life . I don’t know if Ivan makes new Years resolutions or not . He’s a happy guy , notwithstanding . But , I guess he doesn’t pursue happiness .
Ivan wasn’t raised in this country . If he was , then he’d know about the Constitution assuring us all the right to the PURSUIT of happiness . It doesn’t ensure happiness , of course . Ben Franklin said we all , in order to have happiness , will have to go catch it . Fair enough .
People in Japan are , reportedly , the least happy folks in the modern industrial world . They work too hard , too long . There is a word for the problem : Karoshi .
I’ve got Irish blood flowing in my veins . I think the Irish are a happy race . I’ve heard that 50% of a person’s happiness is genetically determined , so I lucked out on that factor . Only 10% , of a person’s happiness is affected by social status , they say , financial wealth and such . So , watch out if you think money is what makes you happy. My friend Jurek told me there are no rich men in the graveyard .
Yeah , I know , if you’re doing the math , there’s another 40 % missing . I guess that’s where , as Ben said , you gotta go out and catch it . Or , as in my case , you kind of sit back , relax , and catch it . Unlike jobs and money and lots of other stuff , happiness comes to you , looks you up , knocks at the door , or not , and then just walks in . I’m pretty sure about that . You just sit home sipping a beer or reading a crime novel or listening to Lyle Lovett , or whatever you enjoy doing , and happiness creeps in and finds you . No sweat .
Happiness is not a goal ; it is a by-product . ——Eleanor Roosevelt
There are social scientists researching happiness as I write . People are earning PhDs in happiness studies . Of course much more erudite , distinguished , academic-sounding titles are used to name this field of studies . There must be , also , philosophers waxing on about happiness , too , and self-help gurus , and poets , and book writers . Who knows who else ? I don’t .
I just decided to write a few thoughts about happiness . There are a lot of unhappy people out there . But , as I write , I realize that I haven’t got any sparkling thoughts or deep insights about happiness , after all . It can be elusive . Not so easy to catch , I guess , at times , for many people . My conclusion , and some advice to people :
1. Ivan was right.
2. Ben Franklin was right .
3. Mrs. Roosevelt was right .
4. Make a New Years resolution to be happy and then , as most such resolutions probably go , forget about it .