What is happiness? Is it being loved? “The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved” as Victor Hugo wrote.
Or a sense of gratitude as Barry Neil Kaufman believes? “Gratitude is one of the sweet shortcuts to finding peace of mind and happiness inside. No matter what is going on outside of us, there's always something we could be grateful for”.
Or should we even ponder the question as Henry David Thoreau suggests? “Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder”.
Over the past decade there has been growing interest in understanding what happiness is. And for older adults it is good news! A study by the American National Academy of Sciences shows a measure of happiness peaks in one’s 80’s after hitting rock bottom in the mid-40s. (Could it be grandchildren?)
But as Robin Cope pointed out, our idea of happiness changes over the many chapters of our lives. As we grow wiser we may develop a more realistic idea of the possible: knowing we aren’t going to conquer the world, though we can still make important differences here at home, knowing our children won’t become President, but they can work hard and raise a good, loving family, and knowing our wild and crazy days are far behind us - because we are just too darn tired. (I can’t make it through one and a half hours of dance lessons without taking a break!)
What makes us happy is unique to each of us and will continue to evolve over time. Today it may be learning to paint, spending time with grandchildren or sharing stories with friends. Tomorrow it may be looking through the family album. But in my case, it would be as simple as finding the book “Happiness Project” - recently lent to me by Julie Reynolds. But don’t panic, Julie. I know it is around here somewhere!
You should have received in the mail the Columbia Gorge Community College class schedule, but you may have overlooked several non-credit classes at The Dalles campus. Wayne Von Borstel is teaching both “Financial Strategies: Strategies for Successful Retirement” on three Tuesdays starting April 3rd from 6:15 – 9:45 PM and “Financial Strategies: Maximizing Your Social Security Benefits” on April 24th from 6:15 – 8:45 PM. And there is a free class “Medicare – Understanding the ABC’s” held on April 3rd from 6:30 – 7:30 PM.
If you missed Jerry Tanquist’s presentation at the Original Courthouse – “Railroad Stories along the Deschutes” you have another chance. Next Tuesday March 6th starting at 11:00 Jerry will share stories and photos of the two railroads built along the Deschutes from 1909-1911 including tales of ten tunnels, going fishing by train, the Lady Frances Mine, The Deschutes Club domain, and the current status of abandoned sections of the Oregon Trunk Line. If you missed it once, you don’t want to miss it again!
Performing tonight at the Center are the Jazz Generations starting at 7:00 PM. And next Tuesday we will start the musical circle again with the Strawberry Mountain Band leading the way - playing country and western for your listening and dancing pleasure. Everyone one is welcome from the young whippersnappers to the mighty oaks. And donations are always appreciated.
Many remembered the deadpan humor of Pat Paulson, a Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour regular, who ran a non-campaign for President in 1968. (This week’s winner of five quilt raffle tickets is Fred Schreiber.) And since the Center’s Saturday Breakfast is returning on March 17th, it is again time to offer a free breakfast to the person whose name is randomly chosen from the “thousands” of correct answers to the “Remember When” question.
And once again it is a Disney question. (I apologize, but I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and whether it was the Mickey Mouse Club or the animated movies, Walt Disney was a big part of my youth.) In the movie “Pinocchio”, who was the wise and comical character that was appointed by the Blue Fairy to be Pinocchio’s official conscience? Email your answer to the firstname.lastname@example.org, call 541-296-4788 or mail it to the Center with a the recording of the 1940 Academy Award winning song “When You Wish Upon a Star”.
Well, it has been another week looking for the extraordinary in the ordinary. Until we meet again,
“always let your conscience be your guide”.