Nothing can slice through joy quicker than one who wields words that cut through like a knife. Negativity. The one who always sees the glass as half-empty.
And so I play the song that is in the number one spot on the Billboard charts from the Despicable Me 2 movie; Pharrell Williams’ “Happy.” Music is my muse and the video is shot in the city that is my home.
We spend a lot of time slicing and dicing; weighing and comparing. As I macerate my strawberries; sugarcoating them, I think of these things and how much more enjoyable life would be without these measures. Granted, they are important because recipes rely on portions to make things appear and taste good. STAR/CST tests, SATs, GREs; they all have a purpose. But when the purpose is lost and kids/adults are taught to test versus learn; the result only has value to the one measuring it; not to the person who owns it. When appearances and measures lessen quality time and happiness; there is no meaning. And most times we don’t measure up. But we continue to base our esteem on these measures. Grades, looks, scores, pounds, dollars? Why?
I read a Billboard magazine article and interestingly enough, there are not very many songs with the word happy (in the title) that break through the top twenty on the music charts. The article notes that most of the songs originate from yesteryear; apparently the 50s and 60s were happier times than now. RARE is it to find someone who will admit they are happy and most people resonate with songs of anger or sadness. I, myself, usually prefer the alternative genre; the hubs; heavy metal. My mother preferred country; the songs straight from the heart. My father; Motown. That would explain his happy, upbeat nature.
So when I stumbled upon Sheryl Crow’s hit, “If it Makes You Happy” I immediately transported to that year. I had LOVED this song when it was on the charts. This was the year I moved across the country to follow my beloved fiance as he went through flight school. This song played on our drive and I cried; thinking of my close-knit family, friends and co-workers and the awesome job I had left behind.
I glanced to the man who stands across from me slicing and dicing on the counter. I asked him if he has always seen the glass as half-empty and I, half-full. He does not like macerated strawberries and I asked him this as I poured a cup of sugar over them. In over twenty four years of our friendship/courtship I had never realized this. Until. Today.
It’s hard to always be upbeat when there’s someone bringing you down. Let’s face it. As buoyant as happiness can be, it is fleeting. Negativity has more weight and can hold you down. It is heavy and harder to shake. I can only be a Pollyanna for so long.
How do people find happiness and sustain it?
I have recently been trying to define what happiness is for me. Alongside the hubs and I, the two older boys crowd the space with their own duties. We have not made a Sunday brunch, as a family, since the end of last year and we jostle for room as we open drawers and fight for counter space.
I am pushed out of the way as the boys take over. They are intently listening to the hubs and I’s conversation and the older one agreed with my assessment. I had told the boys, earlier, that we would start our day with positive words and they immediately (and jokingly) started to complain and whine. Most days I let others set the tone. But I realized that I need to take this matter into my own hands. I need to set the tenor and tone for my family. I need to write my own mission statement and re-navigate our compass north. And I need to eliminate the measures that sharply slice through my happiness pie.
The middle son, literally, likes to stir the pot and play devil’s advocate and called his Dad out. I want my sons to understand this. They can choose to live their lives in the light or the dark; the fast or the slow. But if you know that what lies within has value; you will always fight for the happy; for the glass half-full. The hubs, he takes it in; owning it.
If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad.
Happy people are endangered species. It’s time to ditch the measures.
To which I gaze at my youngest and smile. Forks and knives don’t deter him from his strawberry topped waffle. We all know our youngest has a special place for strawberries and so we were surprised that the hubs asked him for some. And liked them.
These are small things; finding joy in simple every day life. We need to appreciate them and cut out the negative. Fight for the happy!