Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Being Happy

"Hi, Mom! I'm happy!"

This is my two-year-old's current catch phrase. It is often accompanied by dancing (Snoopy-style) just to emphasize the point. He is full to the brim with joy and it is contagious (just like everything else in my house at the moment).

Why is he so happy? He was up coughing last night like the rest of us. He needs his nose wiped every few minutes like the rest of us, too. And yet, he is a living, breathing ray of sunshine. It makes me wonder what I'm missing.

There is the obvious: I'm the mom and so bear responsibility for the people in my home and I'm older with a less resilient body and less abundant energy. But I'm thinking that Oliver may be on to something that I could stand to incorporate a little more of into my life. He does not expand his moments of distress or suffering. He deals with anything negative in full measure when it arises and puts it completely behind him once it passes. He does not dwell on his bad night of sleep or worry that tonight will be equally bad. He is not concerned that he has not returned to full health yet. He feels good enough to do things that make him happy, so he pursues his happiness without reservation. What he has is a winning philosophy. Neither the weight of my adult responsibilities nor the fatigue of my aging self can justifiably stop me from following such a fine example. I will not worry about future suffering or unhappiness. There will be time enough to experience it when it catches up to me. Life is not perfect today, but it is good enough.

Yes, I'm happy!

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