Happy New Year!

When most people are asked what they strive for, they usually respond with one word: HAPPINESS.

However, they may have a hard time articulating their definition of the word. Here is a list of the most common responses: 

  • Being seen as physically attractive 
  • Feeling mentally healthy
  • Appearing to have the ideal partner, children and friends
  • Achieving an emotionally satisfying / financially remunerative career
  • Enjoying a lifestyle that includes travel, exotic dining and entertainment
  • Owning a beautiful home/s, furniture and art 
  • Looking hot in trendy clothing, haircuts, tattoos or whatever your taste dictates 
  • Counting on an abundance of money and time, to revel in it all.

Actually, this list speaks to “stereotypical success”. And while this can enhance happiness, true happiness is a feeling – one that inundates our inner being and totally surrounds our outer self. True happiness does not depend on riches or possessions – it is a state of mind that produces fulfillment and satisfaction. When we experience happiness, we sense that our heart and soul are truly at rest. What we in fact experience, is love.

So? Is happiness a fantasy? Or is it an intangible, yet real entity? Can happiness be weighed? Or measured? Or heard? Can it be seen? 

No, the five physical senses – sight, sound, taste, touch, and hearing – cannot calibrate happiness. This is the province of the sixth sense – our feelings – a combination of love,  intuition, reasoning, faith, and criteria . Only through our emotions, can happiness be experienced. And the same is true for the opposite end of the spectrum – unhappiness.

Our belief systems are partially fueled by the comparison of visible and invisible opposites. Light vs. dark – cold vs. hot – good vs. evil – strong vs. weak – authentic vs. fake. We use our own judgment when we assign a positive or negative value to anything and everything. However, most of our decisions are also influenced by our society’s standards. So, for most of us, personal criteria is not entirely our own – it is a combination of personal preference, and that of others.

Every December 31st., at midnight, we cry out, “Happy New Year”.  Often we cement the sentiment with a hug and a kiss. Most of us are pretty democratic with this behavior. We willy-nilly offer it to our dearest loved ones and sometimes to remote strangers who happen to be in the room. WHY?

Maybe we do so because truly, we do hope that everyone we come in contact with will find “happiness”. If we feel that way, perhaps we should be even more sincere and say,

– I will do my utmost not to influence your decisions this coming year. I will respect your own preferences to live your life as you feel is right. I hope you’ll do the same for me – 

But such a salutation is a bit wordy, isn’t it? Way too much for casual acquaintances. However, maybe after reading this post, you will opt to share the sentiments with the people who mean a lot to you – your partner or spouse, if you have one – the children you were blessed with – or other young people who you love as though they are your children – your birth family – and friends who feel like they are part of your family. 

The other pet phrase we glibly ask at the start of every year is, “What are your New Year’s resolutions?”

Maybe we’d do well to keep in mind that most people are doing the best they can at any given time. And if their best doesn’t live up to our standards, the most loving thing is to keep quiet unless they ask for an opinion. If we are asked, we need to be gentle with our words. Be helpful, not judgmental. 

Over the past few days, some readers of this blog have asked me about my New Year’s resolutions. Maybe others have wondered? Living more healthily, losing weight, painting and writing more, and being more consistent are not on my list of New Year’s Resolutions – those action items are actually part of my eternal life goals. My New Year’s resolution is to live up to the words I have written today – as best I can, at any given time.  


Published by Changes in our Lives

I am originally from Canada but have lived in Mexico since 1976. My husband is from Merida, Yucatan and we raised our family here. We both worked for many years at Tecnologia Turistica Total (TTT), the tourism, language and multimedia college we founded for local and international students. Now retired, we enjoy spending time with family and friends, My other interests include reading, painting, cooking and travel.

3 thoughts on “Happy New Year!

  1. I have never waited for New Years to formulate a new goal or two for myself. We all need to assess ourselves and our actions from time to time, don’t you think? I am hoping to be truly non-judgemental and let those who surround me figure how they want to navigate life on their own terms.


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