What Makes You Happy?

Nothing makes me happy the way chocolate does. And pizza. Not together, of course.

But that kind of happiness doesn’t last long. And too much of that kind of happiness could take my weight back up from 147 to where it was five years ago, over 200 pounds.

Hmm. I’m not an overly materialistic person; I pay strict attention to the family budget and to the amount of space we have. Still, wouldn’t a $2500+ Taylor guitar or a BMW sports car make me happy?

Both of those things would bring a different kind of happiness and one that might seem more permanent than pizza and chocolate.

But I know enough about myself and about happiness to know I wouldn’t ultimately be any happier if I had both of those things. Even if I didn’t reach the point of taking them for granted, either of them could be stolen, damaged, or destroyed. And where would I be then?

Would I cease to be happy if something happened to either of those things? Or to favorite photographs and recordings that couldn’t be replaced?

Nope. I would undoubtedly be upset at first, but then I would count my blessings. And I would remember that my happiness is not dependent on things.

Looking back at my seventy years of life, I can pick out a number of successes (and ignore a number of failures). Things I’m proud of. But does the memory make me happy? Not really. Not anymore. Especially if I’m failing to do anything noteworthy now. The happiness I gained from having three novels traditionally published has faded into remembered pleasure. But it’s the next book that will bring happiness of sorts…until that fades and I must focus on the book after that.

Happiness is an odd bird, isn’t it? One that won’t remain in its cage, even with the door shut.

Nonetheless, I am happy. Not usually an exuberant kind of happy, but a peaceful kind of happy.

Peaceful? Now there’s the secret. Happiness and peace are very similar, and peace isn’t necessarily the absence of violence or of conflict. It’s an attitude. We can decide to be happy.

Yes, it’s easier when everything’s going right, but it’s not dependent on that. When our relationships with God, other people, and even with ourselves are the way they should be, peace is a natural byproduct. And that peace brings happiness.

So, what makes you happy? Are you conscious of the effect of good relationships in your life? Or of bad relationships? Please leave a comment.

I’d like to express my thanks to Andy Stanley for his video series on happiness. Although we’ve only seen the first program so far in our Wednesday night Bible study, he inspired some of the ideas I elaborated on in this post.

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

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Best regards,
Roger

Peace & Quiet

noTV     classicalRecordings

If the desire for peace and quiet at this stage of my life should ever be declared sinful, I’m not sure I’d be able to repent of it. After all, repentance means recognizing that one is doing wrong and then turning in the opposite direction. No way am I going to voluntarily accept noise in my life now. Not noise I can choose to do without, anyhow.

My wife and I both came from backgrounds where the television set was on all the time. We hated it, although we both had shows we watched. We decided from the outset of our marriage plans that we couldn’t live with that kind of distraction during whatever years we might have together. So we don’t watch television.

We do have a TV set, however. Just for watching DVDs. Although we have a good collection of decent movies, we actually use Netflix and Apple TV to follow programs that have been recommended to us by people whose tastes match ours. So we watched all of Monk, almost all of CSI, and are alternating now between Bones and Castle. I must admit we rejoice when a favored show finally bites the dust; then we can change to something else.

Yes, some of those shows are noisy at times. But at least we can turn the volume down or turn them off whenever we want to. We watch no more than one show per day–during supper. Other people might protest that we should be spending that time with one another, but we have the rest of the evening to do that.

And what a wonderfully quiet evening it is. I have numerous classical recordings on my laptop, and I generally pick something I think we’ll both like and stream it via bluetooth to the stereo. Then we spend the evening doing things that are equally quiet and peaceful. Kathleen crochets or reads, I read or work on one of my novels, and we play Words with Friends with one another from opposite ends of the sofa.

Boy! Aren’t we the noisy couple!

We live in a nice peaceful neighborhood, too. No rowdy kids or adults…at least nowhere near our place.

I’d like to believe the peace and quiet we enjoy so much is a preview of Heaven, which I’m confident will not have telephones or TV sets. And probably only a smattering of politicians, for that matter.

What about you? Do you need quiet as much as we do? Do you have problems dealing with noise? Please drop a comment here and let everyone else know what you think.

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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on my other blog. Click here to visit “As I Come Singing. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of my songs. Check here to see the list.

Best regards,
Roger