The Suitcase Lady


November 9, 2010, 9:45 pm

Last Thursday I walked into my library to see a book display informing me that November is “Pursuit of Happiness Month”. Considering the election that had occurred two days prior, I’m wondering where I should find this happiness. My Czech irony meter rated this display as a ten.

A quick glance at the books that would supposedly induce my euphoria was not productive. I am not a believer in magical thinking or chicken soup.

However, the ill-timed book display did induce some serious, nonmagical thinking on my part. How can I, a happy person in my personal life, maintain that happiness when the evidence that America is now a plutocracy is alarmingly apparent?

So far I’ve come up with the following guidelines:

  • Face reality… things are unlikely to improve for a generation or so. Nevertheless, keep fighting the good fight.
  • Only get enough news to stay informed. News is a form of torture these days.
  • Avoid being around people whose main topic of discussion is money; how to get it, keep it and not pay taxes on it.
  • Be totally supportive of the younger generations. Their road ahead looks like a rock quarry compared to the one we traveled in our youth.
  • Drink wine, but don’t become an alcoholic.
  • Redouble reading for pleasure.
  • Listen to more classical music. Many years ago, an amazing friend told me ,”You will need classical music when you are older.” She was right.
  • Spend as much time as possible with family and friends.When the big world is dysfunctional, work harder to keep the little world sheltering.

Any additions to this happiness survival list will be warmly received.

4 Comments for this entry

  • Sutapa Mukherjee

    It may not be perfect but it is a lot happier world than 30s Nazism/Fascism/Colonialism and the rampant discrimination of the 40s through the 70s. We are also learning lessons from the hyper-consumption of the 80s and 90s. There is much to be happy about in the world we live in. It is certainly a more tolerant and compassionate world than in the past and we can strive to make it a happier place — I agree with all your guidelines!

  • Claudia

    Take every opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural world whether it is in your backyard or the top of a mountain.

  • evie

    Mary, these are absolutely lovely and stunning and powerful and good and true. And inspiring and intelligent and sensible. Perhaps we might add “listen to your creative impulses”? Or “keep a garden”–real or imagined? Hey, that last one sounds like a poem.
    thank you so much! cheers, evie

  • Flora

    Go for long walk especially in a park, listen to birds, learn a new skill, like knitting or embroidery. Help the needy, join the habitat for humanity, only see people like minded. etc.etc.