Homemade Happiness

When it comes to happiness, we are in charge. 40% of our happiness comes from things we can do to keep it alive. I’m usually pretty cheerful but it has been a dire year. With some beautiful highlights, but no way 40%.

Yet, according to Barbara Graham, our culture promotes the idea that happiness is a given, and that most people believe there’s no reason why folks can’t be happy all the time–unless there’s something wrong with them.

I never believed that. When I was young and cynical I was taken with the idea that “most men lead lives of quiet desperation” and women got an extra spoonful. As I matured and designed life the way I wanted it to look, I figured I got it right about half the time. That seemed fair: 50/50 equal measures of suffering and joy.

Now math is not my subject, but if i automatically have 50% happiness and I can add 40% more, that means  the happiness in my life shoots up to 90%. Well, wouldn’t that be nice right about now? I really want to get off these crutches, stop dealing with medications and pain and sleeplessness, and just be ME again.


UC Berkeley has an entire department devoted to the study of happiness (I think I would be 100% happier had I graduated with honors from that school) and they put together a sort of top ten list of things to do to increase the happiness quotient. Let’s see. Right now, honestly, I’m at about 30% (with zero being dead). This is up from 20% yesterday when I spent yet another day having blood drawn at the doctor’s office.

So here’s my plan. Do those ten things on the list and get 70% happy. I can totally live with 70% happy. The first thing on the list is to SAVOR LIFE’S JOYS. “Pay close attention to life’s pleasures and share them with others.”


All I have to do is look in front of me to see one of my favorite pleasures: my laptop. I don’t know what my happiness numbers would be without writing, oh wait, I do, because some days in the past couple of months I’ve been too sick to write. So here I am with my best pleasure. And next to me: a cup of tea. Nothing beats a cup of tea. I like Stash Black Breakfast with a splash of almond milk. And almond milk?! Thank you whoever thought of that stuff. Regular milk and I don’t agree, soy milk is just okay, but almond milk is like a sweet dream.

Seems I don’t have to reach far to get that happiness thing heading higher. Next up? DROP GRUDGES. Give me a few days for that one as I have a longish list. But I will be back and will send progress on my health and happiness for the next ten posts. Want the complete list now? I read it in the June issue of “Mindful” magazine. Page 49. And there’s another of the joys I savor, reading and sharing what I read:)

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