How to be Happy

happiness-under-his-feet-in-public-domain

thanksgiving-fairy_340_340.jpgMy holiday comedy sketch The Thanksgiving Fairy features Rick and Toodie, a married couple who are having one of those “nothing-to-be-thankful-for” days. Ever had one of those?  (OK, I might as well admit up front that this is a thinly veiled true story.)

The setting is a laundromat:

Being a glass-is-half-full kinda guy, Rick observes, “Hey, our marriage outlasted our washer and dryer!”

“What are the odds?” Toodie snarks.

“Of our marriage lasting?”

“No! Of our washer and dryer dying within two days of each other!”

“Actually, I think it’s kind of touching, like when old couples die so close together because they can’t bear to live without each other.”

Like Rick and Trudy, my wife and I drove to the laundromat every week when we were first married. Back then we read, talked, and thought it was pretty great just having a partner to–literally–share the load with.

But that was then. This is now.  Have you ever noticed how your happiness baseline—what you consider necessary for satisfaction—is progressive? It’s based on what you’re currently used to. For example, I recently grumbled about having to drive to an ATM in imagesorder to deposit a check. Not many years back I thought ATMs were the bees knees: “Woo-hoo! I don’t have to go inside the bank anymore!”

Now I consider ATMs primitive, and expect all of my banking to be done online. Because…

Happiness baselines shift. Constantly.

Back to Rick and Toodie:

“The Bible says, ‘In every thing give thanks,’” Toodie observes. “How are we supposed to give thanks for this, Rick?”

Rick suddenly finds a fabric softener sheet in a pair of boxer shorts. Chuckling, he says, “You owe me a buck.”

“What?” Toodie says, but then realizes what he means.

“The Dryer Fairy!” they say together and begin reminiscing about the magical being made up by their children:

“Every time they found one of these in their socks or shirts it was because the Dryer Fairy put it there, and we were supposed to give them a dollar!”

“Only, when we said no they started giving each other a buck out of their own allowance!”

“How cute was that?”

Their mood has been completely altered. Not by comfort. Not by convenience. But by love.

Sometimes our children teach us.

“Looks like you’re being ‘thankful for every thing’ here, babe,” Rick observes.

“Kind of,” Toodie replies, “but it’s ‘in’ everything, not ‘for’ everything. I mean, I’m not thankful for this.” She gestures around her. “But I am thankful for our kids. And for you.”

“That our marriage has outlasted our washer and dryer?”

 “Yeah. And that God loves me despite my ratty attitude.”

“Hey, 80% of gratitude is attitude,” Rick notes.

“And the rest is ‘grrr.’ That’s the part I was focusing on.”

Happiness isn’t necessary for gratitude, gratitude is necessary for happiness. The only way to be consistently happy is to build your happiness baseline on gratitude. Yes, God wants us to be happy. But he knows that gratitude (from the Latin gratis = “thank you”) is necessary for happiness, so he commands tahnksus to give thanks!  (I Thessalonians 5:18)

King David put it this way: “Enter with the password: ‘Thank you!’ making yourself at home!” ~Psalm 100:4

Happiness is a habit. And gratitude is the behavior that forms it. Want to be happy? Practice. Not just on the holiday that tells you to…

But every day!

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Culture, For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to How to be Happy

  1. Very true! I am thankful for my kids. Can’t have everything. Excellent post 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Wonderful post as always, Mitch. Appreciated your observation about the happiness-baseline-shift. Gotta watch for that! Your laundromat story reminded me: Steve and I traipsed to one every week for the first three years of our marriage. We’d enjoy hamburgers and ice cream while we waited for the washers and dryers to do their thing! Ah, the good old days of Day Night at the Laundromat! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Squid says:

    Aww, sweet post. Also I liked how you tied in Latin at the end. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: What’s Your Happiness Baseline? | Mitch Teemley

  5. You fuss about the ATM? Well, I just reached the 20th century. Last month I finally went the route of direct deposit for payroll. I might just make it to the 21st century if I ever decide to ditch my flip phone.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. dawnlizjones says:

    YES! ” The only way to be consistently happy is to build your happiness baseline on gratitude.” Brilliant. And sometimes the thankfulness needs to be for what’s going on behind the scenes that we’re not privy to (faith), maybe “in spite of” (trust). You do my heart good!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I especially liked the “grrr” part!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Pingback: Give Thanks! | Mitch Teemley

  9. Pingback: Gratitude | Mitch Teemley

  10. Roos Ruse says:

    I got more out of the script. Not sure if that means you’re a great writer… [jk]

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Roos Ruse says:

    Reblogged at What’s Next (hope it pingbacks) :0)

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Pingback: How to be Happy – Reblog | Whats Next

  13. Happiness is a conscious and consistent effort on the part of the seeker which must not be dependent on others doing. You choose to be happy.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. mitchteemley says:

    Reblogged this on Mitch Teemley and commented:

    80% of gratitude is attitude.

    Like

  15. I really appreciate this post. I’m such a big believer in the value of gratitude. When I heard about the “Law of Attraction” so many years ago, that was the best thing that I got out of the related books and instructional videos. Focusing on thankfulness keeps me humble and focused on the important things in life. As I’ve gotten better at the everyday practice of being thankful, my marriage has gotten stronger, my children are happy, my body is healthy, all my basic needs are met better than before (and I’m still not rich in money, but who cares when I have all this!)

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Jennie says:

    Really good post. Loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Reblogged this on Two Are Better Than One and commented:
    Gratitude is the key to happiness. It’s just that simple. Mitch illustrates this point so well in this short post. Read it and be blessed.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Pingback: Thank You! | Mitch Teemley

  19. Pingback: Thank You | Mitch Teemley

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