Definitely, it was edifying to note that Filipinos made it to the top list of countries in Asia who ranked well in terms of being happy and satisfied with their lives, despite overwhelming odds. I am referring to the World Values Survey undertaken by the University of Michigan among 82 countries last November. We are always used to the Philippines ranking first in other surveys for being one of the most corrupt, heavily-indebted, terror-stricken etc. and so it was refreshing to encounter something good to be said about us, for a change.
The social scientists were quick to add what many of us have known all along that being materially sufficient does not always equate to happiness. This probably explains why there are higher suicide rates in Japan or Korea than here. We are simply used to grinning and bearing it, singing the blues away or adopting the fatalistic attitude that tomorrow will take care of itself. In simple words, que sera sera.
Of course this is not an entirely positive thing. There is a problem when we refuse to improve our state of affairs and close a blind eye on the need for reforms and good governance, all because of an attitude called “taking things with a grain of salt.” I would like to believe that we have been much too happy to the detriment of our own good. We cannot be too happy and be too lazy, lacking dreams, procreating left and right, and grooming our kids to be the next artista/GRO/caregiver. Otherwise, what could be said of the future?
Having said so, I have nothing more to say against my countrymen. Our innate friendliness and cheerful nature are something the great civilizations of Europe or Asia can’t replace. And as I found out, the nicest souls I have ever seen are not in the so-called society functions or airconditioned offices but in the slums, mountains and other remote parts of these islands. You can get lost and always have a home while everyone’s singing and strumming the guitar, serving you with their humblest food and yet one prepared with so much enthusiasm. This is probably the reason why we will never dish out our pesos for those expensive shrinks….
Happiness is a state of mind, so the cliche goes. And in order to be happy, you really have to count your blessings, literally by writing them down one by one. WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY? Here’s mine:
– a cup of brewed coffee, whatever the weather. More so if it’s paired with my favorite cinnamon rolls.
– Friday nights, knowing that the weekend will give me time to rest, gallivant and do tasks which are not work-related
– a nice, stress-relieving massage complete with muted lights and instrumental music
– buffet breakfasts, because breakfasts are my most important meal of the day. I like to eat ’em all, heehee
– getting together with my friends, because it’s getting to be a rare commodity these days, being so busy with our lives
– finishing a blog post and seeing comments which motivate me to write more or get better
– receiving gifts (who doesn’t want gifts? no matter how small, it’s the best way for somebody to make me feel am being thought about, and vice versa. Am a sucker for thoughtful, sincere people)
– seeing/hearing from long lost friends
– talking for one hour on the phone with somebody a few continents away who is not even my boyfriend
– being made to feel that am still desirable at 35..yay!
-being kissed by my kids and hearing them utter something new which they learned in school or from television
– trying a new restaurant serving good food
-going on road trips/out-of-town assignments
– going to the market or simply shopping
My happiness thoughts as of 10:31: Of course, I cannot be happy with my sex life or the fact that I cannot prepare my masterclass meals for someone special. This is the scourge of single mothers. A vibrator after all cannot replace the warmth of a living, breathing human being. My kids after all are still too young to appreciate candlelight dinners at home with Swiss chard and herb tart on the menu.
On the other hand, I have managed to transcend all these to finally be happy being single. It has been a long struggle to get to where I am now, to accept that I can actually fare better and look younger being alone. The fact that I am happy has intimidated men all the more because they’d always want women who cling to them and depend on them. Well, I couldn’t care less. I am one of the happiest single moms there is, even though am not rich *grin*