January 11, 2021

Pandemic Reflections #9

Happier New Year 2021!!!

As we write this the 6+ inches of snow we received in the last 48 hours is beginning to melt fast. The sun is out, shining brilliantly off of the remaining snow bed. The forecast promises we will be back close to 60 degrees by this weekend. Maybe, at last, we can begin to put a very trying 2020 in the back of our minds and turn to face the victories and the challenges 2021 will bring. COVID vaccinations have begun, providing many with a sense of hope that has been hard to find during the past months. While we may celebrate the relief we hope the vaccines bring, we are reminded that the end is not here, yet, and probably won't be for several months to come.

So where, might you ask, is the happier New Year? As has always been the truth, our happiness is found within ourselves. Happiness is a choice. Where do you choose to look for your happiness? Is it in the gleeful laughter of a child as she/he slides down a snowy hill on a sled? Is your happiness brought forth when you awaken to the overnight splendor of a blanket of snow covering your yard? Or do you find happiness in the bright sunlight that eventually begins the melting process, forcing you to wear those sunglasses you have not needed for a couple of days?

A couple of years ago we watched a documentary on Amazon Prime entitled Happy. It was a worldwide exploration of what makes people happy. The conclusion from the research and the interviews of the people in the documentary was, perhaps, surprising. The emerging theme (as we call it in qualitative research) was that the thing that made people happy was doing for others. Imagine that. One of the people interviewed in the documentary was a "poor" rickshaw driver in India who lived with his family in what many privileged people would refer to as a slum. Yet, he was happy to have a job that could help provide for his family, and he enjoyed being able to help others get around the city in which he worked.

Just imagine if, coming out of a year of sometimes violent divisiveness, we chose to find our happiness in doing for others. What might we accomplish? How much happier might this new year be for us?

Where will you choose to find your happiness during this year? Can we possibly do our part in making 2021 the Happier New Year? We think so.

May the New Year bring you and yours peace and comfort. Please be safe.