My Story, Yours Too.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

On Happiness, Philosophizing


How to be Happy in 5 Easy Steps Meme

Almost a month ago, Alex honored me with a Happy Award Meme. Thank you, Alex! The task: List how to be happy in 5 easy steps. I’ve been thinking about, and struggling with, this one. It’s from Alex, though, so I didn't want to ignore it any longer.

Excuse my philosophizing* below. Having been home on med leave post-surgery for the past 4-ish weeks, I've had time to ponder happiness, the meaning of life, and whether newborn baby Kimye’s first words will be, “This is liiike soo seriously unfair, Mommy. They keep liiike trying to take my picture, but you won’t let me like wear mascara yet!” or “Move over, Taylor. Beyonce had the best music video of all time! Of all time! I don’t care what ya’all think, mother f*ckn b*tches!” (We can only hope baby’s nannies will set a better example.)

Back on task, Five Reasons Why I’m Not Going to List 5 Easy Steps to be Happy, Meme-style:

1) What does “meme” mean? I thought it meant “theme,” but that doesn’t really make sense here. I don’t get it and thus can’t do it.

2) Being happy isn’t what it’s all about. If everyone worked solely on inflating their own happiness, the world would continue down a broken path. Strive for relevance, to make a notable contribution, to help others.

3) I’m averse to the “How To” craze. When I started submitting my writing years ago, I hadn’t heard of a query. I sent a one-sentence letter with my work: “Please accept XYZ for publication.” I hadn’t researched submission guidelines or the publishers either. Yet my first two attempts at publication were accepted. I don’t advise being haphazard, but I do advise trusting yourself first and foremost. We tend to give others too much credit for knowing exactly what we’re supposed to do and how we're supposed to do it.  Often, these others aren't more talented than we are, just more confident.

4) There’s nothing easy about being happy. I see it more as fleeting sensation than a permanent mood state. I think it’s much easier for us, the privileged sector of the world –we awake safe and warm, eat full meals, access clean water, etc.—to say that “Everything happens for a reason,” and “Look on the bright side.”  The glass is neither half empty nor half full. It’s both.

5) Alex summed it up beautifully, focusing not so much on happiness but how best to live a meaningful, kindhearted life. I’d just tweak his list a bit, since I don’t have a wife, and I’m Jewish. Like Christianity, though, Judaism emphasizes loving-kindness. It’s our obligation to do whatever we can towards peace on earth.

In sum, strive for relevance. This might lead to happiness, will probably breed contentment, and will definitely contribute to a better world.

                               Have a meaningful day, and keep a smile!

*I thought I made the word up, but it's an actual word (at least, according to spell check).


  1. Amen, Robyn!
    Cool that you had success even without knowing the proper way to query. I didn't either. Think it worked out all right.
    Not sure what meme means either. I just went with it. And probably did mine wrong, but oh well!

  2. Blogger showed me a new post for you but when I did the clicky thing, I got "page not found" or some such thing - several times! Finally I pasted your address into my browser and that worked.

    Blogger must be sick. Might have what I had for a couple days. (cough, cough)

    Anyway your blog is swell. I'm now convinced I need to stop being happy and do something worthwhile with my life. ...waiting for epiphany...will update.

  3. Bravo, Robyn. I couldn't have put it better.

  4. Thanks, Alex. It's great to know I'm in such good company regarding the "query" and "meme."

    David, it might be my fault. I had to take the post down for a while, due to problems with formatting. Then again, it's probably Blogger's fault. It doesn't like to post my entries sometimes. So, we'll say it's Blogger's fault. Thanks for your persistence, and I hope you feel better soon.

    Thanks, BabySis.


  5. " best to live a meaningful, kindhearted life."

    Yes, this is what it's all about! But you are a happy blogger and you make your readers happy too. I know your posts (and comments)always make me smile. That's priceless. :-)

  6. Keep on "doing it your way!" I love people who do that.

  7. It takes some people years to find out what you have summed up in your post... live a meaningful, kindhearted life. Kindhearted being the keyword.

  8. Please tell me she didn't name that baby KIMYE !
    I don't know what an meme is either but i do know that I agree with you on happiness.
    I see happiness as a platform to rest upon after succeeding in learning a life lesson, therefore it is fleeting- we go through the hard stuff, rest with happiness and then it starts all over again.
    I love your blog xx

  9. I think many people are so busy trying to be happy that they don't realize how happy they really are. Congratulations on this award.

  10. Happy and yappy I can be at my sea haha and you don't have a wife? Better get on that lol

  11. Nicely put. I think that living a meaningful, kindhearted life is the best path to happiness.

  12. No, happiness isn't what it's "all about", but it sure feels good. For me, happiness isn't so much something I consciously pursued, but it is something I've achieved. Life is good.

  13. You're right about it being a fleeting sensation, Robyn - those moments after you achieve something you wanted. Still, it's better than having your toes tickled.

  14. In an age where people are out for "number one" and the heck with everyone else. Where respect is rare and bad behavior is rewarded....your post is a breath of fresh air!
    Blessings, Joanne

  15. It's what we give that gives life meaning.

  16. True, happiness is more than just trying to be oh so happy

  17. Really like the alternative twist that you've given to this Robyn, I agree with you too. This meme thing is annoying me, I know the definition of meme but I don't think these blog things are what lives up to the definition, it's a strange one. There's definitely nothing easy about happiness though, definitely for me. Hope that your recovery is going well.

  18. What a lovely blog you have! I be popping by quite often!xxxx

  19. Well said, Robyn! And totally true. I love how there's so much "how to" information for writing in general, not just query letters. Writing is so subjective and artistic - the thought that there's a certain "way" to do it just saps all of the creativity out of everything.

  20. Thank you, all. I knew I was preaching to the choir (of great folks who get it).

    I propose we let the word "meme" die here and now.

    Jacqueline, I like that. Thanks.

    Susan, yeah, we're less likely to find it when we're not intently looking for it.

    Lisa, let's hope now. They've announced it's a "K" name. Well, that's a no-brainer! (Then again, they're a no-brainer couple.)

    Thanks, Snowbird.

    BnB, definitely. In my opinion, the most creative endeavors are products of broken rules.


  21. Hi Robyn,

    I have to concur with your thoughtful post. I also know that I've been told to listen to my own advice for others.

    Through some challenging times, you've reflected and your reflections are those of balanced wisdom.

    Happiness breeds happiness in an ideal world. If we show kindness, most will respond with kindness. Happiness can be an intangible, but like you note, we have to strive to create peace on earth. Live together, learn from each other and rejoice in the diversity of an all different, all equal world.

    Be well and smile, Robyn.

    In kindness and goodwill,

    Gary :) x

  22. That is very cool that you got a positive response without trying to fashion queries like the books on publishing tell us to do. I appreciate it when people go with their gut.

    I especially love #2.

  23. am a bit confused re the meme thing - oh don't forget to check out the blog for your award, tho you get too many xoxo

  24. Great post! Kindness is the key. Then everybody is happy.

    Your query letter was funny! Glad your manuscript got accepted!

  25. I think, if you don't at least TRY to be a consistently kind person (we all fail sometimes), it's impossible to be happy. Whereas if we are kind, we feel good about ourselves, are more likely to have good friends... the list goes on and on.

    Oh, I would say, chocolate helps. ;-)

  26. I'm not even sure hoe to pronounce "meme."
    If I did, that would make me happy.

  27. I think you've got a pretty good formula Robyn.

    To me it's a simple thing.
    1. I'm grateful for everything I have (even when it hasn't been much).

    2. I expect good things to happen to me and if it doesn't, I still choose to be happy.

  28. Thank you, Robyn, for the follow! I'm glad you like my art:)! I'm happy to have found your blog with the thought-provoking post!

    Mary Montague Sikes

  29. I'm impressed that you didn't let a query stand in your way! Just thinking about memes and queries makes me go on a chocolate rampage. Hope you're feeling better, so you can continue "philosophizing" about everything under the sun.


  30. Gary, your kindhearted, wise words are always uplifting. Thank you.

    Cheryl, yeah, I never heard the word "query" until I read it on someone's blog.

    Thanks, David!

    Thanks, Sherry. I was so naive. I'm glad I was, given how things turned out.

    Bev, true. Kindness comes back to us. Chocolate always helps. I was tempted to add it here, but I figured I've induced enough chocolate into my blog, it's a given. Smiles.

    Al, who knows about the meme stuff. I'm wondering if it's cousin to a mime?

    Mary, it's my pleasure. Thank you.

    Julie, me too. That talk makes me very anxious. And thanks for the well wishes. I am back at work and doing fine, so far. YAY!


  31. brilliant post, robyn!
    love all of your answers.

    ...if you think sunshine brings you happiness, then you haven't danced in the rain.


  32. Great post! I have family members who solely concentrate on finding happiness, but if they would just live their lives in a positive way instead of seeking happiness at every turn, they would probably find the happiness they seek without even trying.

  33. You did a good job with this and several things resonated with me. Success isn't always measured by talent, altho that has a big play in it, but the confidence in the talent we have. That's very true.

    My mom always told us that happiness was an inside job. Meaning developing our inner self which motivates actions which brings happiness in doing the right thing and contentment.

    I agree that those stellar moments of happiness are fleeting, but contentment, on the other hand, can be had.

    I enjoyed this article, Robyn!


  34. Love that Robyn.
    Didn't need to read it in order to know that we are very much on par in terms of philosophy, especially in being realistic about happiness.

    Still, a lovely and truthful post.