Happiness. What is it, where do you get it, how much does it cost, why is mine on backorder, and when is it going to arrive?

What is it? That’s easy. It’s feeling good while, at the same time, not feeling guilty. Guilt is a big deterrent to happiness, and it especially afflicts those of us who were raised religious. A lot of things that could make you happy can also make you guilty – like you could steal something and be happy that you have it, but then feel guilty about stealing it – unless, of course, you’re a heathen.

(I only added the part about being raised religious so I could use the word “heathen.” What a great word. I so love the very sound of it.)

Where do you get happiness? In simple things, for instance, winning the lottery. Show me someone who’s won a couple million bucks and I’ll show you one happy honcho.

How much does happiness cost? They say you can’t buy it, and I believe that’s true, because I’ve never seen it in a store. If you find some, please buy it and send it to me.

Why is my happiness on backorder? Ha, ha, that’s funny. But seriously, a lot of the time happiness seems to hinge on some upcoming thing, like, “I’ll sure be happy when I get off work today.” So while I’m working, I’m not really “happy” because I’ve told myself I won’t be happy until quitting time. That’s a lot of unhappy hours.

And when is that backordered happiness going to arrive? Ha ha, another funny comment. I’m full of them – it just delights me. You can force yourself to be happy by doing this very thing. When I make mistakes, like washing a contact down the sink, I start cursing myself for being so stupid. Then I’ll look in the mirror and say, “You’re such an amusing clutz, that’s why I love you,” and I feel better. It’s amazing that I can completely override a negative emotion and talk myself into being happy, or at least not so dejected.

I once tutored this high school student who was perpetually miserable. He wanted to spend the whole hour session complaining about his mom, his classmates, his teachers, everything. Once I got so fed up that I jumped across the table and bitch slapped him. Not really, though I wanted to. Instead I drew a world and a big face looking at it with a frown. I said, “This is how you see the world.” Then I erased the frown and put a smile on the face. “But you could also see the world this way. The world itself doesn’t change. It’s just how you look at it.”

The kid bitch slapped ME. Not really, I just love saying “bitch slapped.” I’m laughing right now after typing it. It’s a blessing to be easily amused. But seriously, if you’re waiting for happiness to show up on your doorstep looking like a winning lottery ticket, you’re going to have a whole lot of dull hours. Happiness has a better chance of getting a toehold if you try to find humor in your everyday life – like when you’re reading this, and sending ME that winning lottery ticket.