I expect that the idea of International Happiness Day 2018 will summon a sneer of disdain from my sceptical sixteen-year old (writes his cynical mother) …
I learn about today’s significance in the village shop, where one fellow customer observes, “I’d quite like to be happy tomorrow as well.” Me too.
The day isn’t going well in the Post Office, with happiness levels as low as the snaking queue is long. The woman in front of me waits grim-faced for about 20 minutes, ready to complain about an administrative error the Post Office has made (she has ample time to brief me). A member of staff finally greets her with a smile hardened by determination, garnering a rush of positivity by rising up on her tip-toes and drumming the counter with her fingers, “Good morning! So sorry for keeping you waiting!” Happiness indeed.
I don’t really get these International Days of Whatever, conjured up by the UN. Especially a Day of Happiness, which seems to me to be a facile name, given the many forms of suffering and hardship constantly affecting people worldwide.
But in an attempt not to surrender to my cynicism, I take a look at the small print of what today is all about. Apparently, the theme is ‘Share Happiness‘ i.e. it’s about sharing and caring, particularly with and for those who need help. Which makes a lot of sense.
There’s a breezily-named ten-point guide to Happiness which emphasises the fact that how we behave shapes our happiness, rather than money and the things we possess. All very good in theory.
So I try to put these pointers into practice.
It works for a while, but eventually fatigue, blocked loos and bickering children chip away at my resolve, and by 5.30pm I am not very happy.
Later, I tell my eldest son that it’s International Happiness Day. He nods – even gives me a semi-smile. And thereby tells my cynicism what it can do with itself.
I’ll try again tomorrow. And the day after that, and the one after that. Until I crack it. Or think I have.
(Or maybe I’ll move to Finland, the happiest place to live – this year at least.)
Today is also Persian New Year (Nowruz), about which I know little beyond this greeting: “Ayd-e-shoma-mobarak“, and that it’s an ancient celebration which focuses on reflection, Springtime and renewal. It involves family, fun, friends and food. Sounds very good to me.
This link tells more.