Inspired and Blessed by Bob Acebedo
Inspired & Blessed

Happiness and New Year

Dec 31, 2022, 1:48 AM
Bob Acebedo

Bob Acebedo


Why do we say, “HAPPY New Year” instead of “Merry New Year?”

Here are some interesting postulations that I’ve gathered.

“Merry” implies a more short-term jollity (as Christmas time), while “happy” is a more long-term contentment.

“Merriment” is having some good fun, while “happiness” relates to overall well-being.

Thus, unlike the Christmas merriment, “HAPPY New Year!” has a broader connotation extending over a whole year of “good luck, good fortune, and prosperity.”

Methinks that real HAPPINESS cannot simply be equated with “good luck, good fortune, or prosperity.”

So, what does it really take to be HAPPY in the NEW YEAR? What is HAPPINESS?

Here are some declarative assertions about what happiness is and is not:

Happiness is not a destination but a journey.
Happiness is not chasing your own tail but moving on and discovering the pure joy of being with the people you love.
Happiness can’t be found outside but from within.
Happiness is a choice.
Happiness is not what you have but what you are.
Happiness is not what you get but what you give.
Happiness is not tomorrow, it is now.
Happiness is finding meaning and embracing your purpose.

In terms of essence or substance, what elements/attributes constitute HAPPINESS?

Nobel Prize winner- author Daniel Kahnerman, cites four conceptual domains of happiness: 1) well-being (or feeling content and satisfied with your personal or professional life); 2) traits (like being enthusiastic or bubbly); 3) emotions (being calm or anxious, sad or happy, etc.); and 4) sensations (pleasures like enjoying the fresh breeze and the sun kissing your skin).

Psychologist Martin Seligman (2002) gives three categories of a “happy life”: 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 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, as we celebrate the New Year, I find the following textual rendition, entitled “Being HAPPY,” the most pragmatic and superb interpretation of what it takes to be HAPPY in the NEW YEAR.

Falsely attributed to Pope Francis, “Being HAPPY” is almost a verbatim translation of a Portuguese literary piece entitled “Palco De Vida” (Stages of Life) by renowned poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935). The English translator of this timeless piece remains anonymous:

“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!”

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!

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