Saturday, December 01, 2007

Are You Keeping Happy?

This morning, my friend and I were having coffee and talking.
As we jabbered about all manner of things, we got onto the topic of “happiness.”
It is a recurring theme in our discussions, mainly because my friend has committed himself to being thoroughly happy in as many areas of life as possible. In his relationships, work environment, pursuit of hobbies, stress intake allowance, possessions, and recreational moments → HAPPINESS IS JOB 1.
Happiness is a priority.
Is he happy? Yes!
Is whatever he is doing working for him? Yes!

I have observed his life for several decades now, and I can honestly say that he is the most consistently upbeat, realistically optimistic, and fun-to-be-around person I know. He is what one might call un-stressed-out!
Admittedly, he has a temperament and life-philosophy that naturally lends itself to progress, success and achievement. Not all people have this. I myself do not.
In blogging terms, he's set up with a good working template!
But aside from this natural propensity of his, he actually maintains his perspective on a daily basis. In other words, he works at it.
He religiously monitors his happiness levels, and has often described his philosophy by using the analogy of a syringe. It [The Syringe Theory©] amounts to a system of living that takes that old adage about the glass being "half full" and raises it to new levels.
For my friend, the glass being half full is not good enough.
It should be overflowing. [Like his new hot-tub!]

The Syringe Theory© says that each and every day of our lives should be approached as though one were jabbing a syringe into a Mountain of Goodness. Then, with all that is within you, haul back on that plunger, and extract every shred of goodness out of every single day.
Fill the syringe. Inject yourself with what you’ve collected there.
My friend is a Happiness Addict.
Hooked on happiness.
People that live this way are often perceived as being extremely selfish.
My friend would be the first to acknowledge that, yes, there is an element of selfishness inherent in The Syringe Theory© .
This is because, as all good addicts know, you can’t share a syringe.
To the accusation of selfishness, I think my friend would respond, “I can live with that. The important thing is that I am living a happier life than my accuser.”

So, back to this morning’s discussion…
He told me of the new way he is greeting the people he meets.
Instead of the usual “How’s it going?” or “How are ya?” to which most people will respond with a nearly brain-dead “Not bad” even though they may have been contemplating suicide three minutes before you saw them on the street… my friend now asks, → “Are you keeping happy?”
I find that incredible.
“Are you keeping happy?”

He recently walked into a music store, and greeted the man behind the counter in that very way.
“Are you keeping happy?”
The guy froze, knocked off kilter a bit. You’ve gotta admit, it is quite different than the usual orthodox generic greetings we have mindlessly accepted, in our uncaring society.
My friend waited.
The guy behind the counter just sort of thought about it for a while.
Then he said, “No. I would have to say that ‘No’, I am not all that happy. No, not keeping happy, really.”
They then talked for an hour or so about the many struggles and problems that this guy was going through at the time. Troubles involving family, finances, and such things. And my friend listened, and was able to encourage the fellow human being.
So, that is the flip-side of the selfishness aspect.
Sincerely asking the question, “Are you keeping happy?” can lend itself to some truly unselfish moments where the bullshit of our lives can be swept aside, and some real issues may be able to come to the surface.
The real desire behind the question itself is not an attempt to necessarily heal someone else’s life, but rather, it acts as a catalyst that will make them think about WHY they are not happy, if they aren’t.
The only person we can really help, is ourself.
Living a happy life is, and will always be, an intrinsically selfish goal.
But, I am convinced, it is a worthy, healthy goal.

How good it would be if we could just live those four things, in the image, above.
1) Have fun.
2) Do not hurt people.
3) Do not accept defeat.
4) Strive to be happy.

Over coffee, my friend asked me this morning, “Are you keeping happy?” and I’m afraid I had to answer him, “No. I am not. For several reasons.”
So we talked about it. Those reasons.
Then I asked him the same question, and his answer was an unequivocal “Yes”.
He is happy.
Tell you what.
You can call his immediate response SELFISH if you want to.
But I shall call it ENVIABLE.

“Are you keeping happy?”


patricia said...

I would have to say that overall, yes, I am keeping happy. I have bad, grumpy-lumpy days, but I don't think it is possible (or advisable) to be happy all the live-long days of our lives. Otherwise, what's the point of being happy? One of the things I occasionally do to keep myself in a 'happy' state is to think about times in my past when I was very, very unhappy, and I thought that my life would never change, it would always be bleak. And then I think about my state of mind now, and it makes me happy -- happy because life is good, and happy because I was able to change things in my life over time.

And it's true -- it's up to the individual to be happy -- no one can do it for you.

I hope you find your happy, Cippy!

Barrie said...

You know what? I'm not sure that I am keeping happy. Too busy. How does your friend and his syringe theory deal with that?

Dorothy W. said...

Isn't it easier to be happy if you're not thinking about it and analyzing it all the time? I tend to think of happiness as being so focused on what I'm doing that I'm not monitoring my feelings all the time. Not that I want to be oblivious, but I want to get out of my own mind more than I do.

Beth said...

While your friend may put his own happiness first, he sincerely cares about the happiness of others. That's what keeps him from being selfish.
I do (try) to live my life by those four "rules."
I think I need a bigger syringe.

Keep happy, Cip.

Stefanie said...

Yes, I am keeping happy. For about a month before Thanksgiving, not so much, but I had a Thanksgiving epiphany and I am once again, all around happy. My chiropractor will sometime ask me if I am happy. It's a nice question. Your friend sounds great. I hope you find yourself happy soon.