Happiness 2015: The Givers and the Takers

I’m an extrovert. I get caught up in the New Year’s hype. I’m glad that “the holiday season” is done and that it’s a time for starting over. That’s how I see it, but it probably isn’t as easy for some people.

New Year's Day 2015: Snow on the Catalinas (over 8,000 feet)

New Year’s Day 2015: Snow on the Catalinas (over 8,000 feet)

Consider the takers. They’re always mad, competitive and distressed. A retired woman in the hood used to come to our Starbucks every morning. She bought her coffee but took a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Arizona Daily Star off the rack to read. She didn’t pay for them and messed them up enough to not put them back on the rack. This woman drives a swanky Mercedes convertible. She complains about people who don’t work for what they get.

One day she gleefully admitted that she sneaks into movies. You may ask, why? Would it be okay to her if someone poor did the same thing? Probably not.

I think the givers are happier than the takers.

I’m not always a nice person. Sometimes I feel edgy and say something sarcastic to a person I care deeply about. When Brook was little she would often call me on being mad. I’d resist. “I’m not angry,” I’d angrily say. She knew better.

We don’t know what’s going on with a stranger but I figure it can’t hurt to say hello or make small talk, acknowledging someone who may be sad or lonely. That’s giving too.

As I get older I’ve decided the only thing that matters is to be a mensch — to be kind, smile readily (I used to think that was so pollyannish), and reduce the times I say, “yes but…”

I’ve learned to like being happy better than complaining. I’ve been there and it does no good for anyone.

Do you think happiness is a choice? I do. Circumstances and brain chemistry intervene, no doubt about it. Studying happiness seems to be in vogue. I know of a former attorney who has made a career of it. Good for her, I say, if she’s helping others learn to be happy.

Thanks to my friend Kasia (via author Elizabeth Gilbert) for posting about the happiness bottle. I can do this! Every evening, write a few words on a slip of paper about a happy moment during the day. Drop it in your happiness bottle. Amuse yourself on New Year’s day by reading about all those happy moments. Hey, it can’t hurt!

My only goal this year is to make a little more space in my head for appreciation of the present — start meditating again, even for a few minutes a day.

To all my dear family and friends, here’s to good health, good luck andIMG_1026

IMG_1062happy moments in 2015!

Here are some of mine: Dan flew to Jersey City with me for Thanksgiving with Brook and Gian. We’re about to ferry across the Hudson to NYC.  Calling my kids on Christmas Day. Nothing makes me happier than to see them all together!




This entry was posted in Family Matters, Fight wimpiness and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Happiness 2015: The Givers and the Takers

  1. Carol Shutt says:

    I love how we can grow wiser and happier with age.Thank you, dear Sheila, for saying this all so well.

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