Friday, December 25, 2009

Hard-wired for Happiness

The other day, I was with one of the Programme Delivery girls, and she was telling me about a success she had with one of the children she works with. It wasn't something big enough even to be mentioned in the quarterly evaluation, but she was really excited about it, because even a tiny breakthough is a breakthrough.

I shared her excitement - it was so contagious, it would have been difficult for anyone not to - and that only encouraged her to talk more. After about ten minutes, she said, "I really don't know why I am telling you all this. I am sure you are not as interested in it as I am."

I assured her that I wasn't the tiny bit disinterested, but she didn't believe me. "Didi, I am sure you are only being polite", she said. "But I can't help myself. I get excited about small things, and when anyone listens to me, I bore them completely."

"But that is exactly what I like so much about you", I assured her. "The fact that you get excited about things." She beamed, which encouraged me to continue, "You are the sort of person who will always be happy. No matter what life throws at you, you will manage to squeeze your personal happiness out of it."

And that is exactly the sort of person she is. One who is hard-wired for happiness and will claim her share of happiness no matter what. There are quite a few people like her, and I love surrounding myself with them, because without even intending to, they cheer me up when I am down.

There is also the other kind of person. The person hard-wired for lack of happiness. I know one of them too. She is better qualified professionally than 95% of the people in the country. She's married to a man who pampers her in a way I would love to be pampered. She has two well behaved kids, a nice house, a high end car and driver, and full-time household help. She's tall, and pretty, and can look really stunning when she decides to dress up. But she is permanently disgrunteled with life.

I see her taking an evening walk when I am rushing home from work. I am dead tired, but still need to pick up the kids, fix dinner, help with homework, give baths, mediate a dozen fights, and tuck the kids in for the night. She's looking fresh and well groomed, her maid is looking after the kid, and the same maid will feed the kids dinner, wash the dishes and leave the house leaving spick and span before leaving. All she has to do is to look pretty and fresh, and spend a few pleasant hours with her husband before going to bed.

I should be envious of her, but I never am. Because what is the point of physical comforts if you aren't happy?

Which brings me to my current WIP. All my characters are like me - reasonably content with their lot. They get upset, scream, shout, and sulk, but they bounce back. They are the only characters I can write, because I am just not happy with writing any other kind. Does that make my book one sided?


Anonymous said...

I'd say your WIP reflects life for most of us.

I do love people who can find joy in the small moments and see the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Here's wishing you much joy!

Rayna M. Iyer said...

That about describes it, Fiona. I don't like people who are disgrunted with their lot no matter how friendly, humourous, intellegent or fun they are.


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