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Don’t Worry, Be Happy

1ahappy12Everyday in the media and social media I hear about happiness.

Happiness Projects,
Happiness Quotients,
Happiness Index,
Gross National Happiness,
polls, songs, quotes…
what’s with all the happiness?

Is wretchedness and melancholy really that out of style?

Where are the memes celebrating the drudgery of everyday life?

Where are all the T-shirts promoting doom and gloom?

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If happiness is sooooo easy why does everyone have to be constantly reminded to be happy?

When did we become so obsessed with measuring and quantifying happiness? When it became big business, that’s when. I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness lately so I was drawn to The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold us Well-Being by William Davies (Verso). I felt the book was overly academic, like I needed a degree in something to understand it, but it did have some fascinating, logical, brilliant, and disturbing points about how we’re being sold happiness and at what cost. Happiness is a new religion.

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But what if we’re being sold a one-size-fits-all happiness coat? It seems to insulate us against heartache, but instead, it’s drafty, the seams are fraying, and oops, it’s not waterproof. I’ve been sales-pitched happiness for years, and I’m starting to feel consumer fatigue. I’m guessing a lot of people aren’t feeling ‘the happy’ the way they’re told they should be feeling it, especially if the amount of loneliness, antidepressants, and boredom are any indication.

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I find people endlessly fascinating, though I could live to be a 1000 and still never grasp their full complexity. Maybe I don’t want to, there’s nothing more thrilling than a mystery. I’ve observed that people seem to think they have to add things and people to their life to be happier, but what if it’s quite the opposite, what if you have to remove things and people to be happier?

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I decided to start my own Happiness Savings Plan – pool then diversify my assets and lose some liabilities. I want to make sure I keep falling in love, over and over again, with my son’s laughter, books, music, clouds, chocolate, TV, movies, loved ones, conversation, kittens, dreams, puppies, laughter, hope…I’m tired of hearing about: The Kardashians, FIFA, Bruce Jenner/Caitlyn (I don’t care about the choice, I’m just sick of endless publicity-seeking), spy pigeons, wrinkled selfies (pretty much all selfies at this point actually), drought shaming, fat shaming, age shaming, sex mad marsupials…sigh, I’m feeling less happy just thinking about it all.

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So for the next 365 days my plan is to make changes, one per day, mostly removing things; perhaps it will make me happier, perhaps not, only time will tell.

I invite you, my dear readers to join, if you so wish, don’t feel like you need to, or do the same changes. And don’t worry, there won’t be endless posts about my C-C-Changes Plan, just an update here and there…

My first week is as follows:

1. Remove 15 minutes or more of internet time per day.

2. Remove 15 minutes or more of news/politics per day.

3. Remove 15 minutes or more of sitting per day.

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4. Give up one TV show.

5. Change 15 minutes of screen time into reading or listening to a book time.

6. Take 15 minutes or more to organize .

7. Learn something new each day.

It might be challenging, but as G.K. Chesterton reminded us, “There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.”

P.S. I’m going for less.

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Author:

Very me

178 thoughts on “Don’t Worry, Be Happy

  1. One of your best Donna! It would be great if we were happy all the time, but if bliss is something we have to work at blundering into, that doesn’t make us less, or defective.
    As for the cutting back, 2 years ago I cut the Comcast cord. So way less news and commercials. I can’t say I’m deliriously happy as a result, but it helps. Helped with anxiety a bit too. Mega hugs

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    1. Thank you kindly Teagan. 🙂
      I’m doing this all in baby steps and seeing where it goes. 🙂
      I don’t think we’d be happy being happy all the time and how would we even know if we were happy?
      Hope this day is good to you. Megahugs!

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  2. #2 is a key to calmness, if not happiness – when I stopped reading newspapers, watching CNN, etc several years ago my life got a lot more serene – I get all the news I need from what people post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fascinating post – love your tone and ideas. I’m so Unhappy at the moment (losing my job etc.) that I am barely coping so I feel better now having read your zingy post!

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  4. Agree…less is best for sure. Way too much technology these days just changing the human spirit. The news itself is so slanted for panic and politics and money! We were happiest just playing outside and learning to write cursive rather than text. Imagine how much carpel tunnel will be seen in the years to come? Pressed to blog later…hope that’s OK! Great post!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, and changing the shape of our spines and I’m sure researchers are already working on thumb replacements for all the people texting and gaming.
      News is less about news and more about sensationalism.
      Best of luck and hope this day is good to you. 🙂

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  5. As long as it’s not less actual happiness you’re going for less of.
    I gave up watching the news a long time ago. People usually tell me if there’s anything important I’ve missed.( Like another bloody war for instance). I’ve never seen the Kardashians ( and don’t want to), don’t follow football so could care less about FIFA, and no idea who Bruce Jenner/Caitlyn are.
    I think I may need to hook up to a bit more TV and definitely need to knock the computer down a bit, which includes the sitting.Apart from my Big Bang Theory ( give it up-NEVER) and the comedy cop show that follows it- Something 99, I’m not really interested in the box unless you count my antique shows. Oops.
    I decide what makes me happy and don’t have time to follow the type of happiness the Government and others dictate to me.My family and friends rate highly on my smile index and the Hugs I believe in charge me up.( I was congratulated on LinkedIn today as it’s 6 years ago I created the Buthidars) I’m still looking for a job s World leader and I shall be a benevolent despot as long as you don’t make war.
    xxx Humongous Hugs xxx.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, never less happiness, I’m just tired of being sold it. Caveat emptor for sure. 🙂
      It’s important to do what makes each person happy.
      Congrats, 6 years!!! And I think you’d make an amazing world leader, although hard to picture the despot part, even with benevolence. 😉
      Hope this day treats you kindly, supreme leader. 😉
      Massive hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re an exceptionally sweet Lady Donna. I hereby appoint you my Minister of Happiness,making sure that no-one is sold a crock and knowing that you’ll just pass on those genuine bits of information that will bring pleasure.Of course as a despot, I shall expect everyone to be cheered by them.
        xxx Massive Hugs xxx

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      2. But a loving and benevolent despot, of course. 😉
        Thank you kindly, David, I’d love to be the Minster of Happiness in your new world order. 🙂
        Hope this week is being kind to you so far. Massive hugs!

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  6. Excellent, excellent, excellent post! I especially liked the line that perhaps we need to remove some people and things to be happy.
    This post fits in rather nicely with the downer week I’m having.

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  7. On the other hand, if you are never sad or down, how will you know if you are happy – Did you ever see the movie Pleasantville? Some of your goals would be impossible for me – I watch zero TV shows so giving up a TV show, well, is it possible to watch negative amounts of TV?

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    1. Exactly, being sold the idea that we should be happy all the time is ridiculous, it would be an artificial state.
      With some TV shows, too many, it’s sort of watching a negative amount anyway. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I understand about some TV shows – I’ve seen (not watched) a few reality shows and think it would be more productive to lie on a street corner in a drug induced haze than to watch most reality shows.

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      2. I understand a majority of TV is a distraction, but if the world is that terrible that we need that much distraction, wow, turn it off more and try to fix the problems…basically too much of this stuff is a drug induced haze.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I know there are some good shows out there and that they aren’t all a waste of time. I would just need about 4 more hours a day to feel I had the time to watch.

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      4. Correct. I’m sure if we added 4 hours a day I’d find a way to fill those hours without TV. A lot of conversation centers around TV shows, but I don’t care if I miss out.

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  8. Donna I couldn’t agree more with your sentiments – the idea that you should be permanently happy is such twaddle, I’ve long been convinced that happiness is only a fleeting emotion – it has to be or we wouldn’t recognise it – and that the state to aim for is contentment. The recipe for that is less, less, less and learn to appreciate a whole lot more! 😉 Have a contented day 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for dropping by and sharing your thoughts and excellent ones too…and not just because you agree with me. 😉
      Contentment is probably what most people mean when they say they want to be happy and they may already have it if the ravenous happiness sellers weren’t constantly pushing them to have more, more, more! Hope this day is a contented one!!! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. It is and isn’t, I’m thinking of it as baby steps…one of the reasons I used the 15 minute or more so I wouldn’t feel too much pressure. So far the only one that’s stumping me is tomorrow’s – give up one TV show (I technically started this June 1). I have it narrowed down to 3 and who knows, I might chuck them all. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve been working on the declutter, in my life, all aspects… I’ve sold and donated tons of items from the house, and I’ve also let go of people in my life that didn’t need to be, and now I’m working on letting go of the extra thoughts I don’t need. I’m going for less in my life so that I can enjoy and appreciate it more – so I fully support your journey!!

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  10. I’m going to give up all time pieces; it’s clocks that tyrannize me with their remorseless ticking and tocking my life away. That and waking up. I love sleep and I’m pretty cool about being awake but the transition, giving birth to a new day is the shit part of being a day-parent.

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      1. I love the 19th century gravestones that say ‘so and so went to sleep on such and such’ If I was living then I’d have never gone to bed it was clearly very dangerous.

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  11. Less IS more, Donna. I got rid of tons of junk (some people call it important stuff) and felt a lot lighter. As we mature, we need less, use less, sleep less, move less. The later two can be improved on, and there’s no getting away from the first two. 😀 😀

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    1. We’re so conditioned to believe having more is the answer to everything, as though having more of anything will solve ever problem. Maybe less doesn’t always either, but at least it’s less complicated. 🙂
      Hope this day is being good to you, Tess. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hard to believe, I looked at the calendar this morning and I was astonished at the date (that rarely happens), but all this removing is turning out to be fun and I’m more productive. I’ve actually doubled (or more) my goals so far, yahoo! 🙂
        Hope this day is a lovely one, Tess. 🙂

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  12. Oh Donna – such beautiful words of wisdom you have to share. I couldn’t agree with you more. I believe contentment – not complete happiness (if there is such a thing), can be discovered all throughout life. Like you said, less is more. It’s all in perception – just breathing in the summer air, and smelling the rain and the grass and petting my dog can do it for me. I don’t buy into the happiness machine either because I think pain in life should be accepted as easily as joy – not repressed and buried with the chase for happiness always stealing the show. Thank you for your words this morning. 🙂

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    1. You’re welcome and thank you. 🙂
      Pain teaches just as much as happiness, sorrow just as much as joy, they all have their place, we shouldn’t focus on happiness as the answer to everything, especially when it’s being sold to us.
      Thank you for dropping by and sharing your insights, hope this day is treating you well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Love this post!!! I don’t know why people are so obsessed with being happy because in my mind you can’t have the peaks if you don’t have the valleys. I don’t ever look at the news because it is so ridiculous and depressing. I rarely watch TV, I watch my dogs in their “epic death battles” when they play. The only Internet I look at is the blogs I follow. And I am at peace.

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  14. I would only need to do this for two weeks and I’d be out of internet time! Ha! I love the concept. I have been challenging myself to get back into shape and will be launching something next Monday! Off to learn something new!

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    1. I’ve found, I’m sure like many others that my internet time has crept up, so I’ll start with the 15 minutes and keep adding, well, technically removing from there. 😉
      Yes, exercise is definitely going to be on the list somewhere and I’ve been neglecting my Tai Chi and Yoga, thanks for the inspiration, I’m going to write that down for the next week. 🙂 Best of luck with your challenge and have fun with the something new! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Great post Donna. I love the wanting less path to having enough. I’ve reached that myself. What I’m collecting now is feelings and memories. Getting rid of stuff leaves more time for both. Just making room in my head for my own thoughts and tuning out the spoon fed propaganda was the beginning of contentment for me. It wasn’t easy. I was addicted to the drama of the world – everyones version of it. Good luck to you.

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    1. Thank you kindly. I’ve done so much, but I want to go further so I thought, start with baby steps, one per day and see how it goes. I’m keeping a journal so after the year I’ll see if what’s made me happy…or not.
      Thanks for the encouragement, I get the feeling some of these are going to be tricky. 🙂

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  16. You know who’s really happy…. The woman who owns Grumpy Cat… Her bank account is full of happiness…

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  17. You’d like despair.com. It makes me laugh. I’m presently drinking tea out of a mug I purchased from the for my sister (whom I’m visiting in sunny California). I first heard about it from Bitter Ben. The mug says: ‘PROCRASTINATION: Hard work often pays off after time but laziness always pays off now.”

    I spent most of my life unhappy, wanting more-more-more. It was like trying to fill the grand canyon with dirt 1 teaspoon full at a time.. But what filled me with happiment (happiness and contentment) was less… oh, and WRITING. Are there days when I just want to throw a chair at somebody? Of course. Being human is not a one-note emotional experience unless you’re on medication.

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    1. I love despair.com, it’s hilarious and a reaction to the happiness industry, yet another industry. Great mug and quite true.
      Happiment sounds like a great state and I find that in that state, less but better rules!
      I’m glad you found less and writing and the thought of the occasional chair soaring through the air. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  18. “There is no greater sin than desire, no greater curse than discontent, no greater misfortune then wanting something for oneself. Therefore he who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.” Lao Tzu.

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  19. I think the whole “Be Happy” thing stems from over worry and it is true: over anticipating future events leads us into an endless loop of despair. I’m always reminded of the King of Hearts, a movie which suggests the only truly happy people are those who never worry. (confession time – I am an extreme worrywart – I’m generally only happy when defrosting my frozen butt in a bath of hot water).

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    1. I used to worry more, but I read somewhere that it was a passive activity that keeps us from acting on things and since I’ve tried, with varying degrees of success not to worry.
      I don’t think I’ve seen that movie, I’ll have to check it out.
      Thanks and hope this day is being good to you. 🙂

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    1. Yes, and so far, so good. I’m on Day 4 (technically started June 1) and no issues so far. I actually sat 30 minutes less and gave up 3 TV shows and mulling over another 2. 😉

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  20. If you haven’t already seen, and will forgive me sharing a 10 minute video to replace the one of the 15 minutes spaces you just shaved out of your life (good for you! seriously! 🙂 then you might find the following interesting, Barbara (the lecturer that did this) found herself laid low by a cancer diagnosis and felt she was given no time/space to explore being in any place of support or understanding other than admonitions to be “Happy!” and healing herself through “Positive Thinking” – – not sure if you’ll like or not, but your post reminded me of this and I agree wholeheartedly with what you wrote – just wanted to share – 🙂 https://www.thersa.org/discover/videos/rsa-animate/2010/03/rsa-animate—smile-or-die/

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    1. Ive been listening for over 30 minutes (while doing other things) and now can’t wait to listen to and read more!!! Thank you so much, I’m enjoying her immensely, seems we have a lot in common. 😉
      Hope this day treats you kindly and thanks again! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  21. How happy would we all be if ‘we’ managed our time on the Internet instead of letting it manage us? I cut my time on Facebook down to less than 10 minutes per day, unsubscribed from any blogs that I don’t want to read the entire post, write and rewrite my posts to get them to as few words as possible without destroying my intent, and I must say that has made me real happy. 🙂

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    1. I thought some of these would be more difficult than they’re proving to be. I technically began on June 1 and I’ve surpassed my goals so far…am I happier, who knows, but I don’t think it’s doing any harm. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I just love your humor Donna 😀
    I don’t have a TV and didn’t have for years, then I can decide what kind of news I wish to read about, I don’t need all the violent photos or video’s.
    I like the one with cutting the people away, who are not making us happy, I’m sure, this one will work.
    I think that I will make my own kind of cutting down and away Donna, thank you for your great inspiration 😀

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    1. Thank you kindly. 🙂
      It’s strange how the things we think we’ll miss we often don’t and vice versa.
      Just because we have people in our lives doesn’t make it healthy, but they can be like a habit too and letting go can be difficult.
      Hope this day treats you kindly!!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  23. A good idea – and a relatively simple approach – good luck with it! The idea of just eliminating 15 minutes a day of something that can be as burdensome as news/politics would be a great path to happiness.

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  24. Really, Donna, if we all followed your step one every day we’d be happier, the way I see it. You’ve figured out what will make you happier and decided to do something about it daily. Holy cow. What a concept! I’m with you, my friend. I’m also on vacation this week, so that makes it much easier for me. We’ll see when we get back to the routine. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Nice post. Your happiness must not come from things of this world because the sad truth is everything has a begin and an end. Let your happiness come from high above. Just my thought on the topic 🙂

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    1. I think people find their happiness where they can, hopefully understanding humans have a broad range of emotions, I doubt we’d have all of them if we were only meant to stay in happy mode. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Great things to strive for each day! Learning something new keeps the brain making new connection and keeps us young! I’ve always subscribed to what Tim Ferriss calls the “Low-information Diet” as far as news goes – the important stuff will find me and past that, one could spend all day reading that stuff! Thanks for sharing this list!

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  27. Donna, i gave up a few friends when I turned 50, told my daughters that quality over quantity really makes your life better.
    I am still going for more unwind time, less projects, more humor and reading time over t.v. I may try changing; at least for my summer! Sorry, have to say winter is a great time to unwind with t.v., movies and books, too. (Not junk t.v. but shows that are more original.) I will try less Internet but awareness of the news will help me, maybe not others.
    I do tend to put happy thoughts on every 4 posts, but you got me thinking. . .

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    1. I think quality over quantity is exactly what I’m going for, less but better.
      I still watch the news, just less, but in a 24 hour recycle, a lot is looped.
      I doubt I could ever give up TV, but I’m being more selective now. 😉
      Thanks for dropping by, hope this day treats you kindly. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Sounds like a great plan! I’ve been trying to downsize in the past 2 years since I retired and I’m still not there — but I’m getting there. I’m getting more done all the time so it’s definitely a progressive thing and the end of the tunnel is nearing. Every time I sell something or donate something, I feel much better about everything. Keep us informed about how things go with your plan.

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  29. These are all great goals. I think that happiness is a state of mind and an ever evolving process. It can’t be don’t 24 hours a day every day, but we can come very close. :).

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  30. You have a good point, less not more, though it depends; more of what, less of what? In my case, more time sitting down would probably be a good idea and less time faffing around thinking about all the things I need to do. Perhaps I should start with 15 minutes of organising!
    Visiting from the #WeekendBlogHop

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    1. Thank you for visiting, love #WeekendBlogHop
      What works for some doesn’t work for others and vice versa, we just have to work at finding our own groove, I guess.
      Glad to virtually meet you!!! 🙂

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  31. So much yesness to all of this. I know I am later than late to the party, but I’m finally coming out of my exhaustion yucky hole. Cutting cable was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Less TV/electronics = more creativity for me.

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  32. Thanks, Donna, for liking my posts. I aleardy am a follower of your site as many of the posts are really interesting. Happiness is an industry, nay, a religion by itself as there cannot be a surfeit of it given the strife and stress in the world that we live in. Modifying one’s daily protocol, as you are suggesting, by reducing TV, staying more connected with good friends, regular outdoor exercises (not hitting the dull and lifeless, artificial ambience of the gym), banishing hatred and making a conscious effort to love and give more, may be the answer…best wishes.. Raj.

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    1. Thank you kindly, Raj. So glad we found each other in this giant virtual haystack. 🙂
      Thanks for dropping by and sharing your wise words. Hope this day is being good to you. 🙂

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    1. Thank you kindly for the nomination, Tessa, that’s so sweet of you to think of me.
      I don’t accept awards anymore because it left me with less time to comment, like, share, etc., but I love reading the info and yours is great! 🙂 So I’ll answer the questions
      Thunderstorm or extreme heat? Thunderstorm.
      Cats or dogs or some exotic pet? Cat or gorilla, whichever is more cuddly.
      Brothers and sisters or only child? Brother, although I’m sure some days he’d wished he was an only child.
      Blonde, Brunette, Black or Red hair? Today, red.
      Favorite drink? Nowadays, water, years ago, anything. 😉
      Shower or Bath? Both.
      What is your favorite exotic animal? Wait, do actors count?
      Public school or private? Public and proud.
      Favorite car? One that drives itself.
      Where was you last trip? The store.
      Princess or her maid? The head of the government. 😉
      Thank you again Tessa and hope this day treats you well!!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  33. I think happiness is a word bandied about a lot, as you say, perhaps it should be replaced by contentment? Being as happy as you can in your present circumstance, cutting down on certain activities TV, etc, sounds a reasonable way to go! Learning something new each day sounds a great one to add to my list. Perhaps it is the little things that we need to make time for, making time for family and friends, going for a walk, talking to a cat when you’re walking! This happens to me sometimes! Watching a squirrel scurry across a fence …….

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    1. I watch and read to stay informed, but am optimistic that most people are basically good and know that everything has it’s ups and downs…I think we’re ready for an ups. 🙂

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    1. I always love dropping by, Janice and being back to blogging, at least a little feels great. 🙂
      Hope to see you at the next #BloggersPitStop, Janice, it’s so awesome! 🙂

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