WHY is it apt to say, “Happy New Year”? Of course, I’m not discrediting our natural craving to be happy than not in the new year at hand.
One likely trite reason I stumbled on the social media why we are wont to greet, “Happy New Year”, is because it conveys wishes of good luck, good fortune and prosperity which ought to extend over a whole year.
But, pray tell, what really does it take to be HAPPY in the new year at hand? What’s HAPPINESS really all about?
According to Nobel Prize winning author Daniel Kahnerman, there are four conceptual domain of happiness: 1) well-being (how your life is generally going like feeling content and satisfied with your personal or professional life); 2) traits (like being enthusiastic or bubbly); 3) emotions (like being calm or anxious, sad or happy, etc.); and 4) sensations (pleasures like being out in nature with the fresh breeze and the Sun on your skin).
Psychologist Martin Seligman (2002) similarly categorizes a “happy life” into three: 1) the Pleasant Life (pleasures); 2) the Good Life (engagement and desire-satisfaction); and 3) the Meaningful Life. The first two are subjective, but the third is at least partly objective and lodges in “belonging to and serving what is larger, or can benefit people, and worthwhile” than just the self’s pleasures and desires.
But interestingly, for me, I find the following textual rendition, titled “Being HAPPY”, the most pragmatic and superb interpretation of what it takes to be HAPPY in the NEW YEAR.
Often falsely attributed to Pope Francis, “Being HAPPY” is an almost word-for-word translation of a Portuguese literary piece titled “Palco De Vida” (Stages of Life) written by renowned poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935).
The one who did the English translation of this timeless exquisite piece remains anonymous.
Here it goes:
“You can have flaws, be anxious, and even angry, but do not forget that your life is the greatest enterprise in the world. Only you can stop it from going bust. Many appreciate you, admire you and love you.
“Remember that to be happy is not to have a sky without a storm, a road without accidents, work without fatigue, relationships without disappointments.
“To be happy is to find strength in forgiveness, hope in battles, security in the stage of fear, love in discord. It is not only to enjoy the smile, but also to reflect on the sadness. It is not only to celebrate the successes, but to learn lessons from the failures. It is not only to feel happy with the applause, but to be happy in anonymity. Being happy is not a fatality of destiny, but an achievement for those who can travel within themselves.
“To be happy is to stop feeling like a victim and become your destiny’s author. It is to cross deserts, yet to be able to find an oasis in the depths of our soul. It is to thank God for every morning for the miracle of life.
“Being happy is not being afraid of your own feelings, it’s to be able to talk about yourself. It is having the courage to hear a ‘NO’. It is confidence in the face of criticism, even when unjustified. It is to kiss your children, pamper your parents, to live poetic moments with friends, even when they hurt us. To be happy is to let live the creature that lives in each of us, free, joyful and simple.
“It is to have maturity to be able to say, ‘I MADE MISTKES’. It is to have the courage to say, ‘I AM SORRY’. It is to have the sensitivity to say, ‘I NEED YOU’. It is the ability to say, ‘I LOVE YOU’.
“May your life become a garden of opportunities for happiness... that in spring may it be a love of joy... in winter a lover of wisdom.And when you make a mistake, start all over again. For only then will you be in love with life.
“You will find that to be happy is not to have a perfect life. But use the tears to irrigate tolerance. Use your losses to train patience. Use your mistakes to sculpt serenity. Use pain to plaster pleasure. Use obstacles to open windows of intelligence.
“Never give up. Never give up on the people who love you. Never give up on HAPPINESS, because life is an incredible show!”