2021 will be great! Know why? Hot-cross buns in January. Sure, the COVID numbers are humungous, a rampant second strain because we needed an encore, storming of the Capitol by ANTIFA cleverly disguised as slack-jawed buck-toothed white rioters, Presidents banned from social media for being an arse-hat (four years that took, four years!) . . . but we’re one step closer to seeing hot-cross bad boys being released all year around to help my ever-more rotund belly. Swings and roundabouts, ladies and gentlemen, swings and roundabouts. Albeit reinforced swings.
With every bite of hot-cross goodness, happiness has been on my mind (you can thank Richard Layard’s Happiness). I write this brewing a pot of tea, following a run and imbibing a plant-based protein shake. I’ve earnt that hot-cross bun, goddamit! Viktor Frankl described happiness as having purpose, and that life was about finding your purpose. Bertrand Russell thought focus on self (problems, fears and failures) causes unhappiness, and that a generous outward spirit is what counted. Jeremy Bentham lectured of the predominance of pleasure over pain, and the greater good to make society happier. Marcus Aurelius, a Stoic, wrote it came from a calmness within, a mastery of self. Epicurus focused less on the external world, but trying to be happier than not: after all, only an idiot is happy all the time. More recently, William H. McRaven, the four-start US Navy Admiral believes it’s impacting your community for the better, however large that community stands. Disappointingly, bakeries and an intravenous drip to a bag of lollies seem to somewhat remiss in all these aspects. Incidentally, sugar and crack-cocaine trigger the same parts of the brain, fascinating, huh? Thanks Norman Doidge.
Happiness is tough. It’s an intangible, non-measurable, varying from person to person, as unquenchable as love. Giving yourself to something larger than yourself is probably the reason we have children, making other lives better, unless it’s a public place or a plane. But if you are surrounded by people improving other’s lives, you’ll form relationships focused on making everyone better. Quoting the Spirit Level, a rising tide lifts all boats. Or drowns Fiji, one of them.
I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions - if you feel that strongly on something, you’ll do it already. For me, it’s a continuation: drinking in literature, paradoxically knowing less the more I learn; treating my body with the respect it deserves <glumly puts down hot-cross bun, farrrkin hell!>; reducing meat intake to improve the environment; take more photos, especially of spiders as they scare me; help others if I am able; be less critical of myself and others, regardless of beliefs. Yup, Trumpians and Brexiteers, that means you too. Tottenham supporters can still fu** off though. Strong winds have bought us to this point, it’ll take courage to turn this boat around. Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be, For my unconquerable soul. Be compassionate, be tolerant, show love. Eat hot-cross buns, in moderation, apparently.
Writing and writing...