By Crystal Thompson
Considering that my past columns have been full of some rather negative analyzations, I'm afraid that I may have come across as someone who only sees the gray cloud rather than the silver lining in every situation. This, however, could not be further from the truth. Therefore, I give you an article that will shine a ray of happiness into this sometimes stormy opinion page and hopefully prove once and for all that I'm not quite as serious as I seem.
I am, in fact, usually quite the optimist, and sometimes maybe too chipper for my own good. I once had someone ask me "What's wrong with you?" simply because I had a smile on my face. So, for the rest of the day, whenever I'd see the unhappy little drone, I'd try to up his smile factor by slipping overly cheesy phrases like smile factor' into every other sentence. He finally told me to drop dead when I asked if his happy-meter was broken. Now, call me crazy, (most people do anyway), but when did it become odd for someone to appear happy?
I'll tell you when. Around about the age of puberty most people begin to see life as a chore rather than a gift. Homework, bullies, and zits seem to take precedence over sleepovers, ice cream, and bike rides. Within a few years, homework, bullies, and zits are replaced by parents, cars, and break-ups, which in turn becomes kids, jobs, and mortgages. Eventually the presence of a smile becomes a rare occurrence.
I think that the key to turning a perpetual frown into even the tiniest smirk is a word called perspective. It's really easy to pull the bad points out of every situation and focus primarily on them, however, it is possible to change the way you think about a situation, and look at the positive aspects of it, too. A lot of people seem to put a negative spin on everything that happens and it ends up making them dead to the world. Attitude is a key factor to living a happy life. Even the slightest change in the way you think can make a world of difference in your life and the life of those around you.
Changing your way of thinking has got to be the easiest thing to talk about doing, and probably the most difficult thing to actually do. By the time we are adults, it has become a learned pattern to dwell on stress and pass off happiness. Everyday life is full of bumps and scrapes and by the end of the day it's a lot to ask just to keep your eyes open, let alone force out a smile. Happiness seems to get lost somewhere between breakfast and dinner... But what is happiness?
Well, at the risk of sounding philosophical, I'd have to say that happiness is a state of mind and a point of view. In order to get happy, first we must consider that nobody, anywhere, has the perfect life. However, there are people who are truly happy. Why? Because they choose to be. They let a simple smile take priority over a dirty look. They let a child's hug mean more than an adult's put down. They are truly happy and because they are, their happiness rubs off on all those who come into contact with them. You'll notice when you meet someone who is truly happy, because just by being that way, they have an effect on all those around them. After talking to a happy person, you walk away feeling better about yourself and about life in general.
If we, as individuals, take the initiative and put our mindset back to sleepovers, ice cream, and bike rides, we'll soon be seeing more and more happy faces. Before too long people will be returning our smiles, rather than questioning our sanity!
OK, there it was...a dose of cheer from the seemingly cynical reporter. For those of you choking back your lunch and gagging on the sugary sweet sentiment of my column, I can only reassure you that it's sincere and ask, "Is your happy meter broken?"