Happy day-after

Published 12:05 am Saturday, March 21, 2015

Nine years ago, the munchkins, then 5 and 2, were spending a few days with us. Christopher’s current obsession was The Wizard of Oz, which he wanted to watch incessantly, and knew so well that he spoke the lines with the characters. “I wanta watch the wicki-witch,” he kept saying.

His sister, Sarah, got into my closet to play dress up in my high heels. As she surveyed my functional work wardrobe, built around black, she pronouced, “You’ve got so many black shoes, I think you’re a wicked witch.”

Her baby brother was appalled. “You not a wicki-witch! You’re an Aunt ‘Chele.”

I can hear his little 2-year-old voice as if it were yesterday, and replaying it in my head makes me grin. I thought of that yesterday, Fri., March 20, on International Day of Happiness.

I learned of this special day in one of the early morning emails I skim. Targeted at editors, it suggested an interview with a happiness expert. How, I wondered does one become a happiness expert? So I took the bait; emailed him and asked.

Turns out, Kym Yancey was too busy being a happiness expert on International Day of Happiness to talk, but he’s available next week if you’re interested. So I clicked on over to his website to learn more.

He’s part of a happiness movement.

“Happiness is contagious, and our goal is to create a world with more compassion, less strife and a greater sense of purpose and meaning,” it says. “You can claim responsibility for your own happiness and become a catalyst of happiness in others’ lives.”


His top tips are oh, so easy.

• Smile more often

• Give others the benefit of the doubt

• Cultivate gratitude by focusing on the wonderful people and things in your life

• Keep a gratitude journal (it’s scientifically proven to increase wellbeing!)

• When you read a great article or book about happiness, pass it to friends

• Be generous with your money, your time or whatever you can spare

• Write someone an appreciative email

• Exercise and get outside more—taking care of your physical wellbeing is important!

• Make plans to spend time with people you like

• Seek out service projects, volunteer opportunities or aspects of your faith that add a sense of meaning and purpose to your life

They even offered a happiness pack, in honor of the International Day of Happiness.

Interspersed in the package are photos of people holding up signs: “You are awesome,” and “Someone, somewhere is smiling,” and “Hey, handsome. Yes, you. SMILE.”

Pretty soon, I was smiling and humming Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” in my head.

So happy day-after International Happiness Day. You are awesome. I’m an Aunt ‘Chele. Smile. Think of what makes you happy and go see if you can infect someone else.