I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness and wondering if that is really the goal.  Is it a feeling, a state of mind, a place to get to, a place to come from, transient, permanent, . . . I really don’t have a clue.  The funniest little things make me smile and enrich my life.  After seeing bits of the Academy Awards today, I’m wondering if all those voluptuous ball gowns that expensively defy the laws of gravity could make a person really happy.  I’ve had designer clothes in my younger years and I don’t remember breathing deep and savouring the moment while wearing them. 

My grand daughter (18 y.o.) has a bad cold right now and is convalescing on the couch.  She is one of my treasures.  She’s so different than I was at her age.  She notices if I have something particularly collectible (the good stuff!) and will say “Grandma, can I have that platter when you die?”  I love that!  She can make requests straight up without feeling shy.  She can acknowledge that I’m not going to be around forever without pretense. She’s my only grandchild so far, so I guess the competition for my worldly goods will go in her favour.

I found this list of ideas about happiness written more than 100 years ago by Robert Louis Stevenson quite fitting even for modern times.

Robert Louis Stevenson
Poet, Novelist & Essayist ( 1850 – 1894 )

How to Be Happy 

  1. Make up your mind to be happy. Learn to find pleasure in simple things.

  2. Make the best of your circumstances. No one has everything, and everyone has something of sorrow intermingled with gladness of life. The trick is to make the laughter outweigh the tears.

  3. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t think that somehow you should be protected from misfortune that befalls other people.

  4. You can’t please everybody. Don’t let criticism worry you.

  5. Don’t let your neighbor set your standards. Be yourself.

  6. Do the things you enjoy doing but stay out of debt.

  7. Never borrow trouble. Imaginary things are harder to bear than real ones.

  8. Since hate poisons the soul, do not cherish jealousy, enmity, grudges. Avoid people who make you unhappy.

  9. Have many interests. If you can’t travel, read about new places.

  10. Don’t hold postmortems. Don’t spend your time brooding over sorrows or mistakes. Don’t be one who never gets over things.

  11. Do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself.

  12. Keep busy at something. A busy person never has time to be unhappy.


Robert Louis Stevenson  

Another “happiness” message that I really liked was a bumper sticker that I saw on a car which said “Maybe the Hokey-Pokey IS what it’s all about!” 


7 thoughts on “Happiness

  1. Yeah, happiness takes work, not something we should take for granted and bored people never are happy, then they drink or fight because they have no purpose in life. I found having a purpose and passion has a lot to do with being happy 🙂

  2. Pingback: Monday best of last week: link style « The Misadventures of Kelly and Kelly

  3. Awesome post about happiness! 🙂 What helped me become more happy was reading “The Art of Happiness” by the Dalai Lama. It made me realize just how many people are involved in our everyday lives. Just contemplate how much work and how many people are involved with making a shirt you wear. People have to plant the cotton, fertilize it, harvest it, then drive it to the factory. Then, think of all the people who had to make the machinery just to harvest the cotton. Then think of the people who had to pour the metal to make the machines. Then think of the people who had to get the metals to make the ore to…well you get the picture.

    I think the less material possessions I have, the happier I am. Like the Dalai Lama says (and I’m paraphrasing here), that the true definition of a ‘poor person’, is someone who is always wanting what they don’t have. There are rich people who are really poor, as they are never satisfied with what they have, they always want more and more stuff, bigger and better vehicles, houses, etc. Then, there are poor people who are rich, they are happy with what they have.

  4. i miss jeannine , too . i feel very strongly i was her last student and she was my student , too.  sweet audrey lynne was there taking such good care of everything but her time was running short and j. said when do you have to leave? and audrey said , “about two weeks” , and then she looked at me and i said, “i don’t have to go, jeannine , my husband is self sufficent and my kids are grown” and she smiled at me and drew a circle with her fingers and said “then the circle is closed.” her one bite of rice went down to two sips of fresh pomegranate juice. audrey made it every morn, crushing the seeds in the mortar and pestle, and showed me just how much, and she made breakfast and showed me just the two bites that went onto the plate, also tiny. i was there thanksgiving and made a huge feast. i always worry we will run out of food on feast days , don’t ask me, i don’t know why. the children were overwhelmed and each ate two small plates, rico ate a manly meal …. lol.
    a sip of pomegranate juice was her last meal . i held her all that night and she was light, like air, i remember how when we were chatting birth, right after i got to utah, she asked me a trick question, “how many babies have you delivered?”,,,i have always answered two , but i’ve caught many others. she was pleased with me and i was pleased to have served her.

    i see i’ve typed all of this on the wrong link , but rather than try to retype and put it under the right heading i’ll just leave it here,

Leave a Reply to Laura Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *