I’m no expert on ‘How to be happy’, but . . .
If we live long enough we get tossed around a bit. . . until we finally realize it’s our choice of whether to be happy or depressed. So, here are Ten Commandments for happiness. I keep the list where I see it off and on, and the words have made a difference for me. And, Ethel being Ethel, I added an Eleventh.
1. Take time to work. Each day you have 24 hours to use, two hands that need something to do. Work answers both. Everyone needs the sense of satisfaction of a job well done, whether for money or not. and ever since Eleanor Roosevelt set the pattern, our First Lady’s have all done volunteer work. And you’ll sleep like a saint when, as your tired body crawls into bed at night, knowing, “Today I saw a need and tried to help.”
2. Take time to play. It is the secret of youth and while youth in years cannot remain, youth in spirit is ageless. The old, familiar words still ring true. “There are ‘old’ young people, and there are ‘young’ old people.” Take your pick.
3. Take time to read. The wisdom and humor of people from all ages and climes are in books, free of charge, from any library shelf. Oh, take time to read, for a home (or life) without books can be sterile and empty. What a difference a book makes.
4. Take time to think. The Mind is a Power source and the power I speak of is the power to master and control our own lives. Milton knew all about that back in 1666, when he said: ‘The Mind can make a Heaven while in Hell, or a Hell while in Heaven”.
5. Take time to worship. It’s the perfect road to real joy. And it doesn’t mean sitting bored on some church bench, though it can happen there. But it can also happen any place and no matter what task you are busy with. I keep remembering that Adam, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, et al, had no fancy clothes or buildings for worship. In times of labor, play, relaxing, or in a crowd, no one will know what your mind is doing. Worship.
6. Take time to make friends. There is no life as barren as one so full of busy-ness that no time is found for friendship. Lover, spouse and ‘significant’ other, often come and go, but friends are friends before, during and after such changes. Make them. Keep them.
7. Take time to love. It is the most sacred sacrament life can offer, and if you limit your love life to the sexual aspect, you’re missing a lot. There are so many other kind of love, all the way up to Agape, and marriages flounder unless young love develops and reaches into deeper realms. Marriage without sex would be boring, but marriage for sex only is doomed from the start.
8. Take time to laugh. It is Balm of Gilead for life’s burdens. A great big hearty laugh that rocks the room is so healing it relaxes places you didn’t know were tense.
9. Take time to dream. Dreams lift you to the stars, and never apologize for your dreams. because there isn’t one single accomplishment on earth, from going to the moon, to writing a sonnet, that didn’t begin with ‘just a dream’. Bless your dreams.
10. Take time to plan. It is a secret seed for all the rest. You know the adage, one that is found , at eye level on many a bathroom mirror, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.”
11. Turn Off the D___ TV. It’s hypnotic with false laughter, people giggling and trying to discuss subjects they no nothing about. Games after games, obviously doing whatever can be found, because, somehow those daily 24 hours must be filled, and we end up with at least 22 hours of pure trash that no one wants or needs. Turn it Off and find out what YOU think. And what YOU want and don’t want your children to think is important..
Yes. all the above are good, and some are easy and some aren’t, and while they might not make a new person of us, they’ll make the most of the kind of person we already are. And isn’t it great that we have the control (see No.4 above). Especially over that choice (or curse) of today that can be cured just by pressing the OFF button. What and when to view is up to each of us. Let’s not let someone else choose how to fill our days. .