I was reading an article the other day, well not so much “reading” as listening to someone who had read the article tell me about it. I suppose they thought I would be interested because the gist of it was how to live to be 100, which, as you can probably guess, I already know something about. But for those of you who are less familiar with this phenomenon, I suspect that right now you’re thinking there are likely some key factors that contribute to this quite remarkable extension of life. Like eating all the right stuff, exercising regularly, not smoking, and just to be sure, never playing on railroad tracks. You might even think, and you could probably find some research to say so, that a glass of wine or beer a day is the key to unlocking the door to longevity. And it is quite possible that you would be right but before you get too cocky I have to tell you, that in this case, it was none of these. Nope. What my compatriot proceeded to explain to me, despite my protestations because I, like you, am pretty confident that I have this one down pat, was the one thing you must do if you want to live to be 100 (and let me just add here that not all of us do) is easy. You have to be happy. That’s right. It’s as simple as that. Just be happy.
Now I’ve written about this so many times I won’t even bother linking you to the posts, but I am pretty certain you know that, as a shallow person I may not be happy all of the time, but I am happy a lot of the time. So for me, this “long life” revelation may prove to be less problematic than it is for some of you. Nonetheless, it did get me thinking. It got me thinking about what it means to be happy. You may recall that at one point, not so long ago, I embarked on a course to answer this very question and had I actually taken the course, I might not now be spending my time pondering this rather elusive concept. But I never did take the course, so here I am, on my own, grappling with the concept of happiness and what it means to you and me and perhaps a whole slew of people we don’t know. Because it seems, if I can be so bold to say so, that what might make one person happy could make another very sad.
Think about it. What do you think makes a con man happy? Having never been one I can only imagine that the pinnacle of happiness for someone like that would be the moment your money ends up in his (or her, of course) pocket. I’ll even go out on a limb and say in this case the “more the merrier” leaving me to conclude that the sadder I am the happier he is. Then there’s clowns. Here’s a whole segment of the population (small as it may be) whose entire purpose in life is to make others happy. They spend their days devising clever ways to to get people to laugh, maybe forget their troubles for a little while and it makes them happy to spread that little bit of sunshine. Surely there’s no harm in that. Unless of course, they come up against someone in the audience with coulrophobia and the whole thing turns into a “can’t sleep, clown will eat me” nightmare. So much for those good intentions. Or how about that tax collector? At the end of his day the more “evaders” he finds the happier he is. But how do you feel when you’re the guy at the short end of that stick? You see what I mean? Regardless of the outcome, apparently if they’re happy they’ll reap the benefits. Get it? It’s those guys who will be waving goodbye to the rest of us as we have our one final, (not to mention often only) trip in that big, black limo. Where’s the justice in that?
Anyway, that’s what I’ve been thinking since I heard about this road to living long. Although, in the middle of my thinking I actually thought about something else. My Mother is about as close now to 100 as you can get without hitting that nail on the head. Her Mother (may she rest in peace) was 102. The “sisters” are 96, 94, and 84, or thereabouts. All of which all makes me wonder. Maybe I don’t have to worry about being happy after all.