March 20 is the UN International Day of Happiness, a ‘holiday’ since 2013, with a theme even! 2020’s theme “Happy Together” was an unfortunate twisted premonition chosen BEFORE the pandemic was global reality. Staying safe meant isolating from anyone not under the same roof. No more happy times at work or after, on weekend outings – well, you lived it. You know the list of the forbidden went on and on. We may have been in this historic event together, but we weren’t physically so. Those part of multi-person households found themselves together 24/7, forging creative solutions for work, school and family. Brief snatches of solitude became luxuries.
2021’s theme – “Keep calm. Stay wise. Be kind.” – fits appropriately the aftermath of last year’s unforeseen chaos . Keeping calm forces us to face what we can’t control with a mind free of energy-depleting frenzy. The calmer we are, the wiser our choices/solutions can be. Kindness acknowledges that all are worthy of care and consideration whether or not we know their stories.
Hasn’t our community responded magnificently? I get that teary-eyed, lump-in-my-throat feeling that means I’m happy to live here, though my blubbering is sometimes interpreted otherwise. Our leaders took the reins willingly to lead us through critical circumstances they didn’t create. Residents stepped up to help in a variety of ways. We continue to reap the benefits and are happier even in the midst of trying situations. Helping others boosts one’s own happiness though the focus is on others’ needs. Happiness sneaks up disguised as renewed purpose, broadened perspective, increased optimism, healthy esteem and strengthened friendships while shooing away loneliness and stress. Smile on Saturday 3/20. “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”’ Thich Nhat Hanh