They say Confucius said, May you live in interesting times.
But Confucius never met 2019.
He had it easy, back before impeachment hearings, global warming, and cellulite.
Our times are far too interesting, and they’re going to get even more interesting in 2020.
So what are we going to do about it?
I have an idea.
The other day I was looking at holiday cards that friends had sent me, and one struck a chord. It had a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said:
Some people pursue happiness, others create it.
And I thought, wow.
Greeting cards are changing my life now.
Even though I’m not sure I’m either a pursuer or creator of happiness.
Usually I just hope that happiness shows up.
I’m lazy. I don’t even get up to find the remote.
Unless it’s near the refrigerator.
If I were actively pursuing happiness, I might burn up a few calories.
So I wasn’t actively creating happiness, but instead just living my life around the holidays, which meant picking pine needles out of the rug and constantly watering the thirstiest Christmas tree ever.
There’s no guilt like Christmas-tree-water guilt.
All I do is worry that a tree, cut down on my behalf, is going to die, even though one week from now it’s going to get thrown out anyway. For years I tried the living-tree thing, dutifully watering them and planting them, only to have them die.
The only question with my Christmas trees is whether I kill them inside or out.
In any event, I was talking about happiness.
Seriously, I’ve spent the time between Christmas and New Year’s binge-watching Netflix, but while I was watching TV, I did notice that I felt a yearning to do something I used to love, way back when.
No, not sex.
I’m talking needlepoint.
Did you forget I am a middle-age woman?
Which means I remember needlepoint more fondly than sex.
I must be missing something.
Maybe it’s estrogen.
Yes, I used to do needlepoint and I made a lot of nice pillows and things, back when I had more time and wasn’t working so hard. But I just turned in the next draft of my next book, and I had some downtime and found myself wanting to do needlepoint. So I searched the house, unearthed some of my unfinished needlepoints, and got busy while I watched Netflix, Amazon Prime, On-Demand TV, and sports I didn’t even know existed.
And then I remembered the Christmas card I had gotten and I thought:
Maybe I am creating happiness.
Thanks, Ralph Waldo Emerson.
That’s why I never write about politics.
I want to be a counterpoint to politics, or anything else that makes you frown.
I want this to be a soft spot where we can all land, one that makes us laugh and reminds us of the things that unite us. Because there are more things that we have in common than otherwise, but it is also true that these days, it takes an effort to remember them.
But they’re worth remembering.
We all want peace on earth.
And in our souls.
Ralph is right, and we might need to create happiness for ourselves, going forward. Whether we do needlepoint, knit, build shelves, bake cinnamon buns, do yoga, restore cars, keep a journal, or make chocolate cake.
I vote for chocolate cake.
This way, if we aren’t able to create happiness, at least we get cake.
This coming year, I’m going to keep looking on the light and bright side, and I’m going to keep trying to make you smile every Sunday, or tell you stories in my books.
And my daughter Francesca and I are grateful to each and every one of you, for reading us.
You have given us the greatest gift one person can ever give another.
An open heart.