The Relativity of Happiness

Let’s face it: the same things that make some of us happy just don’t work for others of us. Some of us see the good and positive aspect of most anything we encounter, while others of us only see fault and negativity.  Some of us are condemned for being too buoyant, while others of us are condemned for being too sour.  Some of us wish we weren’t how we are, thinking, like the old adage, that the grass is probably greener over there.

My aunt, in response to a similar comment about how well grass grows over there, reminded the complainer that she would have to mow that side, too.

Token things send me over the moon.  A kind word, a hug, a chore off my hands – you know, little things.  A former co-worker told me once, a very long time ago, that the day her boyfriend stopped buying her gifts was the day he would no longer be her boyfriend.  She was an adult when she said that.  I was appalled.  I imagine that one day she was also appalled because she did break up with him.  All I could think was, “Good for him.”

Maybe our glee is determined by our goal, and, once achieved, regardless of its size, we are simply exuberant.  “I lost five pounds!” might be the same cause for exotic celebration as another’s “I lost twenty-five pounds!”  Both might be equally joyful at having attained different levels of the same goal.

Of course, hand-picked flowers might bring joy to one and yet cause another to ask why the flowers had been murdered.

While at work a few days ago, my cell phone starting making that awful noise it makes when it vibrates against the desktop on which it rests during the day.  Somebody was trying desperately to reach me.  Several minutes passed before I eventually had a chance to see that I had several text messages from both of my daughters.

My oldest, in college, who had taken her finals a week before, was jumping up and down via text messaging with such joy: “Mommy! I got straight A’s!!!!!!”

My high-schooler, who also had finals a few days ago, explained via text with the exact same level of enthusiasm: “Mommy! I didn’t fail!!!!!!”


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