People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
United States President Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1865

happy older man

I have a little sign on my desk, “Get happy!”

When some folks see it, they ask “How?”

The answer is “Happiness is a choice. So choose to be happy.”

Again, the response is “How?”

I know some folks will disagree with me. But, from my observations over the years, I’d say older folks are generally happier than younger ones.

And my own personal experience of growing older supports that idea.

Our society (at least Western society) has this distorted idea that happiness is only possible when you are young. You can define “young” however you want. However, for most, that means young in years. The typical image of older folks is riddled with sickness, pain, and finally — a miserable death.

Is that the way it really is? A recent study by New York Times journalist John Leland says it is not. Here’s a short list of what I found particularly interesting in his study:

  • We know from a lot of research that older people are more content with their lives than younger people are.


  • The people I interviewed saw loss as part of what it is to be human. It doesn’t make loss any more fun.


  • You come to understand that the quality of our lives isn’t based in the events of our lives. It’s really the reaction to the events in our lives. (Emphasis is mine.)


  • We think of old age as some sort of place to visit—and not a pleasant place.


  • But just spending time with the old is sometimes all we can do, and the most important thing we can do. Give older people a chance to talk.

Obviously, we all have much to learn about being happy from older folks.


Many humans feel the only choices they have in life are between what they don’t want and what they must accept as their “fate.” A rather dismal way of approaching life.

We can say this:
You did not come to this lifetime to experience pain, poverty, powerlessness. You came here to experience joy, and to find that joy even amidst your challenges. And, yes, you came to experience happiness.

So the challenge is to remember who you are and why you are here. Simply, you came here to be happy.

And you came knowing intuitively happiness is a choice you can freely make (or not make). It doesn’t matter what’s going on in the world around you.

So get happy!


This funny-serious animated film shows how we search endlessly for happiness in all the wrong places.

Copyright © 2019 by John Cali

Where do you search for happiness? Do you even need to search for it?

Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


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