March 20, 2014 is the 2nd Annual International Day Of Happiness. That’s an intimidating title. But, I want to break it down into something very simple.
What makes you happy?
I have to believe that there are certain things, even on a “International” level, that make all of us happy. What really makes me happy, can’t be that far from what makes a farmer in Vietnam happy, a single mother in Africa happy, a gay man in Austria happy or a born-again christian in Kansas happy. We are all people, trying to do the best that we can. Busting our asses to take care of our family and communities. Trying to get one foot over on life as it keeps moving, breathing and existing.
Are we up for the challenge or not?
There are certain things that will always make us, just people. If your hang up is race, religion, sexual orientation or social class… You’re missing out on the few things that bind us all together.
Here are a few things I think everyone in the world has in common right now at this moment:
1. Family– We all came from one. Whether we like them, hate them or are indifferent… We are all looking for a family to belong to. It could be a group of people who have the same religious views as you. You could be a gay man/woman who has been ostracized and is looking for someone, anyone who accepts you. You might have had a crappy home life and now you’re married and you want to give your children a home life you only dreamed of. We all want a happy home.
2. Music– A good beat and a catchy melody can go very far in this world. I find it interesting that I can listen to salsa music or Swedish pop (What Does The Fox Say?!) and get into a happy mood, even though I don’t understand one word of it. Music reaches across every boundary we as human beings put on each other. This is international happiness in its purest form.
3. Food– Is there anything that represents us better than the food that we create? You can tell the history of a people in something as simple as a sauce or the way they prepare pork. My grandfather used to go out and catch a bunch of catfish, come home, fry them up, serve them and then tell us to put the heads in a giant pot and he would make fish head stew. The reason he would make the stew, was so he could tell all of us kids about his life. He was never happier than when he was cooking and telling stories. ” Son, nothing should ever go to waste. That’s not who we are!” It was his way of showing us where we had come from. His happiness and legacy to all of us was…food.
4. Peace– We all talk about it. We all say we want it. But what are we really doing about it? We are all looking for peace. It’s the one common goal that has been on the lips of men and women alike for thousands of years. Does that mean, no war, I don’t know? Does it mean we all join hands and hope for the best, I don’t know? I do know this, in times of peace, all men and women are pressed to be their best. Creativity, whether it be through the arts, science or religion breeds compassion. An International Day of Happiness can’t happen without compassion.
So, just for today, can we put aside all the things that we think make us different. Let’s put aside ethnicity, social class, straight, gay, christian, agnostic, denominational lines, married or single.
Today, I’m going to go outside and play in the backyard with my daughter, laugh, act like a kid and tell her, “Beautiful girl, today, we are all happy!”
I think I can do that for just one day. Who knows, maybe I’ll be happy enough to do it again tomorrow and just maybe, I’ll be that much closer to not needing an International Day of Happiness.
Maybe between family, music, food and peace…. All the politics will fall into place and we will begin to focus on what matters…
Us… We all matter in our own way.