What is happy? When we say it or see it, does the word itself make us happy? Does it look like what it infers? Does the sound of it cheer us? Where does happy come from? Now that it’s the time of the season when we are all wishing each other happy this, happy that, let’s consider it.

Happy [hap-ee] an adjective meaning delighted, pleased, or glad. Its related forms are happily (adv.) and happiness (n.) and its antonym is sad. dictionary.com

Origin is Middle English, mid-14c., “lucky,” from hap “chance, fortune.” etymonline.com

We can attain happiness with some luck and without worry (happy-go-lucky!). Our constitution provides for “…the pursuit of happiness.” There’s “Happy Birthday!” And when drinks are discounted and the snacks are free? That’s a great time called Happy Hour!

In Being Happy, Andrew Matthews writes, “It is not what happens to us in life that determines our happiness so much as the way we react…taking responsibility for our own happiness.”  And, “To be happy, we need to concentrate on happy thoughts…” Such are aspirational words we may choose to live by.

In Dogplay: The Canine Guide to Being Happy by Kim Levin and Christine Montaquila, pictures of playful dogs  and their “quotes” teach us a thing or two about what it takes to be happy. “Don’t microanalyze every nice breeze that comes your way.” The cover is enough to make anyone happy.

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”  (Abraham Lincoln)

“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” (Dalai Lama)

“It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.” (Lucille Ball)

That getting happy is derived from one’s heart, look no further than the Tin Man in L. Frank Baum’s The Road To Oz: “The wonderful Wizard of Oz had given him an excellent heart to replace his old one, and he didn’t at all mind being tin. Everyone loved him, he loved every one; and he was therefore as happy as the day was long.”

And don’t we all have songs that make us happy?  It could be the lyrics, the singer’s voice, or the sound of the instruments. Some address happy directly. Consider these. Happy Together by the Turtles (“…so happy together.”), Happy by The Rolling Stones (“…I need a love to keep me happy, Baby, baby keep me happy…”), Jump Into the Fire by Harry Nilsson (“We can make each other happy…”), and Over The Rainbow  by Harburg and Arlen (“If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, Why, oh why can’t I?”).

How about a happy song that delivers the true meaning of the season? Happy Xmas (War Is Over) by John Lennon and Yoko Ono (Lenono Music, EMI Blackwood Music Inc.). “And so happy Christmas, We hope you have fun, The near and the dear one, The old and the young. A very merry Christmas, And a happy new year, Let’s hope it’s a good one, Without any fear, War is over, if you want it. War is over now. Happy Christmas.”

Happy. Not only a feeling of joy, a sense of security, fulfillment, and possibility, too. It is what we seek, dream about, and hope to attain. Almost always, there’s a positive feeling about it. To be happy or not to be. That is the question. Choose happy. A happy holiday season to all.


  1. I think implies works better than infers…see Lollapolingo entry!

Leave a Reply to Karen Donahue Alden Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: