On Being Happy

Whenever I go to places where people congregate, like conferences, I like to spend a portion of my time observing the people from the sidelines. It’s much easier to do when I’m away from home. My observations lead me to believe that, while we all think otherwise, most of us don’t spend much time in our days being happy. We work at being popular, or friendly, or powerful; but no effort goes into being happy.

I recently entered the Empty Nester phase of my marriage. It has been wonderful! My wife and I are getting to know one another again, and are finding that we still love each other very much. Having no children to shuttle around or to watch participate in the various activities that occupy children and their parents has left us with more time to contemplate. I spend a good portion of that extra time on trying to be happy. It strikes me as odd to describe it as an effort, but I don’t know a better way.

In reality, being happy is easy. You just decide to be happy and then do it. It’s trying to be happy that gets in the way.

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