children have joy.  wide-eyed, incredulous, awe-struck joy.  and they are fascinated.

when i watch my nieces and nephews play, i’m often struck by this uninhibited joy they display.  they could be chasing each other around with a little broken tree branch, and exhibit such wild exuberance.  of themselves.  of life.

with pool, i’m lucky to still have that wide-eyed amazement when i see a great shot or a great player.  i don’t know why i’d become so awe-struck that i’d stare like some dumb kid with his mouth hanging open, but i do.  i secretly think that this has kept my fascination going with the game of pool.

don’t get me wrong; i’m not some crazy idealist locked up in an ivory tower somewhere beyond the sky.  i realize how gritty and menacing the world of pool can become, especially if you’re a hustler who depends on a win just to score some bread & a place for some shut-eye.  but there is joy in pool, if you know where to find it.

lately i’ve been reading a book by dennis prager, who i think is probably one of the wisest man in the US today.  he’s no scientist or philosopher.  he doesn’t profess to be a doctor or a head shrinker.  he’s a practicing jew, but he’s not a rabbi in a synagogue.  but prager, i think, is profoundly wise.  his book, Happiness Is a Serious Problem, has provided some invaluable insights for me as of late.  i mentioned in a previous post that i don’t typically recommend self-help books; the thing i like about prager’s book is that he doesn’t present his book as some scientific breakthrough or the last word on the topic.  he merely presents his view on happiness then lets you to make up your mind.  and he discussed many things that i’ve only vaguely felt in my brain but never put words to them.

basically, you have to be happy.  not trying to be happy or do happy things.  you have to be happy.  your activities are driven by your happiness, not the other way around.  yes, happiness is a mental attitude and goal, much like your work goals or relationship goals you set for yourself.  when you’ve set your mind on happiness, you can then drive other activities with happiness in mind.

please don’t mistake happiness with a pleasant exterior.  being happy doesn’t mean you need a huge grin on your face 24/7; it simply means you are very grateful with what you have, and you’re at peace with things you don’t have or can’t have.  if you realize that fact you won’t think you need a cuter girlfriend, a prettier wife/more handsome husband, bigger car, snazzier boat, grander house, or smarter kids, because they won’t make you happier than you already are.  this doesn’t mean you can’t work harder to gain greater professional/financial/relationship success, but you won’t feel unsatisfied while you’re in pursuit.

i’ve a friend that once commented that i was the happiest person he knew.  i wished i had read prager’s book back then.  i was (and am) happy not because of any particular thing i did, but because i want to be happy.  i realized years ago that i have to decide to be happy, not waiting for that magical moment to change my life to one of happiness.  (i was quite unhappy at that point in life.)  there is nothing or no one that can make you happy; people and things can add to your happiness only if you’re already happy.  conversely, people and things can add to your misery if you’re already unhappy.

so be happy.  then do things that’ll fulfill your soul.  love your wife/husband more.  be more helpful.  be more grateful.  be kinder and more courteous.  be more decent toward others.  and i dare you to come back and tell me you don’t enjoy the game more.

here’s my new year’s wish then, two months past due.  i wish that whoever reads my blog becomes a little happier in the process.  it’s a lofty goal with no way to measure its success, but i wish it anyway.  so pick up prager’s book and read for yourselves, or visit the library if you’re low on funds.

thank you for reading this post.  i’m ever grateful to have this venue to express my views, and more so to have people reading this blog, out of perhaps a million others.  best of happiness to you.  and enjoy your year.

8 comments on “happy

  1. p00lriah,

    It has taken me a bit of time to comment on your topic due to continuous dwelling. My mind is all over the place so my sentences may not be well formed.

    For some people, it is hard to be happy, be it depression or hardship.

    For me, winter time is very tough on my psychological well being. Mostly because I tend to stay in doors and hibernate and be anti social.

    I dislike people who are always bubbly or happy, and I find it very fake because I know that it is hard to always be happy and I think that it is just a front that they are putting on.

    Maybe you have achieved this happiness feeling 24 x 7, kudos to you if it is a true feeling.

    Children are able to have this type of joy, because from a child’s eyes, the world is very different from an adult’s. The responsibilities are different, and adults have been tainted well beyond being fixable.

    I think I better take more Vitamin D’s because I have heard that deficiency of this Vitamin will affect one’s mood.

    Thank you for your well wishes, and may you continue your life full of happiness and joy.

    • nah. i haven’t achieved some miraculous magical nirvanaland for myself. being happy isn’t about bubbling or smiling or laughing 24/7. we all feel the entire range of emotions we humans feel–joy, sadness, anger, melancholy, etc. personally, i think it’s more about turning the paradigm around: from me-centered to others-centered. that and being grateful for all the little things in life. in judaism (i think) there’s even a prayer for something as mundane as bowel movements. when i realized the need to turn the paradigm upside down, i became so much happier. when it isn’t about me all the time, i don’t have to be concerned about how I’M feeling 24/7. instead, i can now give that time to my family and friends. it’s that act of giving that makes me happy. the great thing about giving is that it allows me to be happy even if i’m not up to feeling happy that day. love regenerates itself. 🙂

      for example, i love the quilt you gave me. but i hope the joy you gain from giving me the quilt is 10 times greater than my enjoyment. i wish i’m skilled enough to make something for you, because giving a gift (especially to someone who appreciates it) is enormously satisfying. not saying you should give every single time; people do take advantage of it. but giving is fun.

      don’t get me wrong; i’m not some super philanthropist giving stuff away to the poor and hungry; i’m not there yet. right now i’m focusing on the more selfish parts of my life: my loved ones. in time i want to do much more. but even if it’s just those close to me, i’m much happier as a result. and i’m grateful i can do at least that much. when i become filthy rich (probably never) i can then give a lot more.

      of course, since you mentioned winter, there’s a theory on how weather affects people’s moods; some are more sensitive to it than others. basically, a person’s mood can fluctuate in a cyclical pattern, coinciding with seasonal changes. as long as you’re not severely depressed, it’s within the normal spectrum of human moods. if you are very depressed, then aside from exercising and eating properly, professional counseling may be needed. or great chocolates. 🙂 (i recommend lindt or ghirardelli. ferrero rocher is terrific. godiva is great too. all these are fairly easy to buy now and not super duper $$$. in a pinch, riesen, kit-kat, or Häagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream are awesome. just don’t eat the whole bag!!) but do be careful with supplements; not all of them work, and supplements are typically surrounded by tons of myths. calling your doctor or nutritionist may be the more prudent way to go.

      if you’re cooped up in your house, call your family and friends more often. i’m sure they’ll love to hear from you. texting is great too. and tell them you’re feeling down! good friends are there to cheer you up. random calls to your hubby to tell him you love him works well too. 😳

      hopefully you’re a bit happier after reading my crap. then at least i’ll know i actually did something useful for once. 😛

      • P00lriah,

        “it’s the act of giving that makes me happy.”

        I agree with this. Hubby and I do things for people around us on a regular basis to make their lives easier and not expecting anything in return. Last week, I drove our neighbor to the hospital and drove her back and made her a home cooked meal for lunch so that she did not have to worry about food when she came back from her small procedure. In return she got me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. What a surprise this was. Also last week, another neighbor had to go to the hospital and she could not drive herself there, so she asked me what cab company to use, so I offerred her a ride.

        All these small things that we do for other people are just time taken away from our day, making their lives easier. What I hope that they will do in return, is doing something else nice for somebody. The same concept as paying it forward.

        Often times, when we see somebody stranded on the side of the road, if hubby is with me, I will have him pull over and try to help. We’ve helped so many random people just with our jumper cables in the trunk of our car.

        It makes me happy to be able to help somebody else.

        I had one incident last year that made me frustrated and pissed. I got a flat tire and was able to pull to a gas station. The first gas station could not do it and told me to go to another gas station .25 mile away. So I drove to the next one and ran in to ask if somebody could help me change my tire. The gas station attendant said that he was not allowed to do it and there was a garage / mechanic behind the gas station that could help me out. So I went there and after 5 minutes of waiting and asked the guy if he could help me, he said yes, but I would have to wait another 5 minutes. I said fine. After 10 minutes, the guy still did not show up so I tried to change the tires myself. Being just over 100 pounds, getting the bolts out was impossible. I just could not do it. A few passerby saw me having a hard time, but they walked on. At this point I was jumping up on the tire rod. The gas station attendant saw me struggling, and ignored me. Finally after 30 minutes, I went back to the mechanic crying and asked him if he could help me. He sent out his helper and his helper changed the tire for me. I handed the guy a $10 tip. Before I left, I went into the gas station and gave a stern lecture to the gas attendant. I said that he should have helped me because he saw how I was sturggling getting the bolts out. I just needed help with one bolt, and I could have done the rest. It really pissed me off that people just walk away from a situation instead of asking whether they can help or not.

        “… i love the quilt you gave me. but i hope you gain from giving me the quilt is 10 times greater than my enjoyment.”

        of course giving a quilt is 10 times greater than your enjoyment. Every quilt I make, whether it is a baby quilt or a big quilt gives me great enjoyment. I enjoy sharing the art. What I don’t like is giving somebody a quilt and realizing that they don’t appreciate it. This really irks me, but I have learnt to live with it and carry on. It just goes to the back of my mind to not make another quilt for them. Luckily this rarely happens.

        “… don’t get me wrong; i’m not some super philanthropist giving stuff away…”

        I’ve had a few conversations with a few people where they have asked us, if money was no objection and you had all the money in the world, what would you do? I always give the same answer. Start a fund and give the money away to non-profit organization. It’s never, oh I would buy this, buy that… get this and that… etc.

        As for moods, yes chocolates do work, and I am a Cadbury milk chocolate lover. I have friends who go to Europe and have them bring back pounds and pounds of Cadbury. Yum. Yes chocolate makes me happy and friends make me happy to. Family makes me stressed, we won’t go there. 🙂 Spring is around the corner, so my mood should be better. Seeking medical helps scares me, so I try to stay away from that.

        • it sucked that the gas attendant won’t help you. but in such lawsuit-happy society, i can kind of see why the owner would forbid workers to help out. unless the attendant made it all up, then he’s just being lazy. still, sucked that you had to endure it.

          sounds like you have some stuff going on with family. hope it’ll be better in the future.

          btw, you & your hubby sound like very helpful people. i’m glad there are still folks like you guys around. kind of rare nowadays, especially out here in socal.

  2. Your blog does make me happy when I read it! I like this entry a lot, too, btw.

    I wrote one about 6-9 months ago that I entitled, “If I Died Today” (sounds like it would be “unhappy” but it wasn’t). You can read it here if you like: http://personallymeonline.blogspot.com/2009/08/if-you-died-today.html

    To be silly, you can Google “Happy Test” and there are many links to websites that let you know after a few questions if you are truly happy or not. I have found I AM really happy! I knew it, though. 🙂

    I look forward to more entries from ya!

    • dude, u have two blogs! i can barely keep up w one! my brain isn’t big enough to write two blogs at the same time.

      glad ur enjoying my blurbs. guess i actually did something useful. 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for this post.

    That Attitude Post you commented on, a friend had found that quote in one of his friend’s cubicles, copied it & placed it inside my birthday card this year … I carry it with me inside the back pocket of my purse wherever I go and read it every other day.

    Monday, I’m printing this post and placing it next to that birthday card to carry with me as well. Thanks p00lriah 🙂


    • i’m glad u enjoyed this post, & i’m flattered that you’d want to carry it with you. 😳 if you like, check out prager’s book in your spare time. good read.

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