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PRE-SCRIPT: Here’s a small thing I wrote to include in my work in progress book called Health…Humor…Happiness: Weight Loss Tips, Tools and Tales. I have not much yet in this category but a few encounters along the way this month spurred this piece to be included.

Another encounter a week ago with a mother gone mad with the grief of a lost son. Or so one would think. Instead out she came to give her eulogy for her 16 year old. Her message, after she discarded her previously written thoughts, was something that she said came to her that morning. She chooses to honor her lost boy by choosing happiness rather than assuming the fetal position for the next decade or so. She simply chooses to honor him by living and by being happy. Another mother mad or should be with grief, is my dear friend over the loss of her lost boy 15 months ago. I texted her recently as I often do, to simply check in and let her know I am here. I do not find it necessary for me to intrude upon their grief right now, but I find it means a lot to me and hopefully to them to know I am here in the event of any necessity. I ask the customary “how are you doing”. She responded that morning with I am trying to be positive. That is all I can do really. Another one who chooses to go on and who chooses a form of altered happiness but chooses it nonetheless. It got me thinking, something I tend to spend an inordinate amount of time doing. If these women, if these mothers who have suffered the most lethal of blows to a mother’s heart can choose happiness and being positive then what excuse, what possible occurrence or happenstance could justify any other choice but that by anyone in any situation? I know not.   I do know that all you can do is dance between the deaths.

 

Sadness will come as it does to all but it should take the fleeting form of a cloud in a clear blue morning sky or a shooting star in the navy blue night sky. Happiness must always remain the blue and the constant. If the sadness seeps from it’s fleeting form into permanence in the heart and mind then it becomes impossible to eradicate. Eventually happiness gets pushed further and further away until it seems so unattainable that one no longer tries for it. That is the quintessential danger of sadness and the danger of depression in its simplest form.

 

Happiness is not a destination. It must be a choice and a choice one makes willingly even in times where it appears to be the toughest one to make. If not, we spend a lifetime waiting for something that will never come in any form. That happens in obesity as it does in a host of other “wait for tomorrow” magical thinking situations. The world of ‘”IF ONLY”.   If only I were rich I could be happy. If only I got this job I could be happy. If only I had the love of that boy or girl, I could be happy. You can spend a lifetime of waiting for happiness rather than choosing it every day in a host of different ways.   Why are we so afraid to be happy? It seems that at times it irritates even the people closest to us who should be the biggest champions of it. Perhaps it is because it is the emotion or state most coveted.

 

I like happiness. I don’t like sadness or depression. If sadness does come I embrace it for a bit, check its source and find a way to move it along. I do it by choosing to be happy for whatever the moment brings. The source is different for everyone. For me it is music first and foremost in all its glorious manifestations in my life. Driving along and listening to my favorite radio station KCSN out of Cal State Northridge and hearing a song I never heard before and liking it a lot. Then hitting the Shazam app on my phone to find out who sings it and the title. This is so much safer than the old days last year when I would stop, pull over, try to remember snippets of the lyrics and then feed them to AZ Lyric to return the result. Then comes the fun of discovering other songs by the same artist that you like as much. This is pure joy for me. Concerts are another arena of happiness for me; from the large and longstanding icons of the 60s and 70s to the small venues of a new band discovered, a night of this keeps me happy for days in the reveling and recounting of the experience. Local musician friends’ gigs are another musical must for me.   They don’t cost a fortune and often nothing at all. You can see so much amazing music and be uplifted and happy in the support of your friends’ passions. Plays and theater are another source of my joyful living. Again you don’t have to spend fortunes to do this either. I see many plays for the cost of practically a movie ticket and some popcorn. I adore live theater and a night of that can keep me in good spirits for quite some time or at least until the next one. The infectiousness of this state, one hopes, will sprinkle on those around us, particular our children.

 

We never truly know what springs off us onto our offspring do we. A dinner with my youngest son and touching upon the death of that aforementioned 16 year old that my son played football with when he was 8 brought this observation. He said, I know what you are going to say and yes I know it is sad what happened to him but I am kid who likes to be happy so we don’t need to talk about it a lot really. I know it was sad. I did stop talking then and listened instead, a feat surely difficult for any parent. In that instant I heard a lesson taught to my young son that will serve him well I think. Choose to be happy. It takes no more effort to do that than the alternative and the rewards you will reap are immeasurable. Art, sports, helping others, spending time with your children, your grandchildren, your family immediate, distant or discovered, travel, dancing, singing. Wherever the fount of your purest happiness lies, drink from it often and without abandon.