The stress we are all living with can feel overpowering. So how do we survive it? How do we find happiness when we feel we are beginning to drown in the scummy, mucky swamp that has become America today? When we feel powerless, how can we reclaim our Constitutional right to enjoy Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness?
In small things. It is the smallest of things, assiduously collected daily, that will save us. Find those small things that reliably make you smile. Look wherever you have to look. Go outside. Look at flowers. Listen to birdsong. Peruse family photos. Watch an old classic movie. Bogart is always good. Reread a favorite book or just read the comics. Turn off news and listen to music. Dance as if no one is looking, as they say, because you know, no one is actually paying attention to you. Everyone is too busy trying not to drown in this swamp.
This morning I made myself notice how good it felt when my older daughter reached out to me with a text request because she had lost an old favorite family recipe and knew she could count on me to have it and share it. I smiled. I photographed both sides of my handwritten recipe card and emailed the pictures to her. I love having tech solutions at my fingertips to speed up response to requests from my kids.
This brief contact with her made me smile and think of my other daughter. I decided to immerse myself in her Facebook posts and that worked wonders for my mood also. She recently posted how much she loves Portland, Oregon, because where else can you see a bagpipe-playing Darth Vader character skateboarding past you? I enjoyed again the many photos she posts or her friends post of hikes, rock climbing trips, and team endurance races done from mountain tops to ocean beaches.
I read a little in an e-book I checked out from the library. I indulged in a few minutes of an intriguing little computer game I enjoy. I streamed some classical music from a public radio station. I gazed out the window into the trees behind our house, enjoying the sunshine and blue skies.
Pursuit of Happiness. It’s not so hard. It’s in remembering to notice and enjoy the small things. So that tomorrow, with fresh strength, any one of us can swim stronger to reach that bright, shining shore and work to pull ourselves out of this swampy quagmire we call America today. Then we can turn around and begin the very good work of finding allies, recognizing comrades, helping each other and, next election, actually begin draining that hideous swamp. Go now. Pursue some happiness.