When I got my hair cut the day after Christmas, my stylist asked how the holiday had been for me.
“Well,” I said, “My husband has the flu, my Mom’s second chemo treatment was postponed, and our dog went blind. Do you want to hear more?”
2014 wasn’t the best of years for us or our extended family – financial challenges, divorce, illness, accidents, and personality conflicts all found their way to play havoc with our peace and well-being. But there were highs that offset the lows and much to be grateful for.
Was I happy in 2014? Did New Year’s Eve find me satisfied and at peace? I’d say yes, and the flow of my feelings this year conform with the findings of international economists who have surveyed well-being in terms of happiness rather than in terms of cash in the bank. The surprise in the data, as reported in “The Economist”, is that “people increase in happiness until around 30 then happiness heads downward into midlife and then back up again to higher levels after the 50’s.” Most people report being more satisfied with their lives in their 60’s and 70’s than they were when they were younger. And those findings are consistent, no matter in which culture the survey was done across the globe.
My journey from January to December 2014 traced this same U-path. I began the year with a great sense of personal well-being, found my peace of mind plunging due to recurrent minor skirmishes in my own health and family members’ challenges that I was helpless to alleviate between May and October, and then I came round to close the year with a renewed peace and positive outlook based on, really, not much more than the personal decision to go with the flow and focus on the positive. Recalling all the good days, I wish you only the best in 2015.
Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.
Ralph Waldo Emerson