Planning to be Happy

A week or so ago, there was something on television that I wasn’t watching.  What I mean is, the TV was on, and I was in the vicinity.  It was either a Barbara Walters special or maybe 60 Minutes, and some celebrity was being interviewed.  It could have been Michael Caine.  I’m not sure, really, because my memory is really very cloudy and I seem to merging at least two instances in time.

None of this is important.  What’s important is what I distinctly remember this someone (who might have been Michael Caine) saying during the interview.  He said that the secret to life is to always have something to look forward to.

Okay, I know that this thought isn’t an original one, and certainly Michael Caine (or maybe Bradley Cooper) is not the first person to verbalize it.  I’m not even going to bother doing a Google search, because I know the first person this will be attributed to would probably be Mark Twain, Will Rogers, or Benjamin Franklin.  Or, Cicero.  You know, the Big Four.

I found this particular aphorism to be very profound, even if it wasn’t so paradigm-shifting as to make me actually pay attention to the television for more than a few seconds, to give proper credit to Michael or Bradley for saying it.  Something to look forward to.  So simple, but so immediately true.

An example.  I was looking forward to watching the newest installment of the Star Wars franchise for a long time before it came out this month.  And this made me happy.  I’m also happy now that I’ve seen it and actually liked it, but it is a different flavor of happy.  The anticipation was much more charged than what is now a happy memory (until I see it again, of course, on DVD or commercial television, or Netflix).  The looking-forward part is somehow even better.

Take Christmas Day, which is tomorrow as I write this.  It’s a great day to look forward to with anticipation.  It’s a great day to experience real-time with family.  And then it’s a great memory, somehow tinged with sadness because the moment has passed.  The moment is past.  The actual event is a happy one, but the anticipation lasts a lot longer.

Beyond tomorrow, what am I’m looking forward to?  Well, I’m looking forward to my new insurance plan kicking in on January 1st.  That’s one thing.  I’m looking forward to the new X-Files miniseries in January and the release of the video game Mass Effect: Andromeda late in 2016 (I have a long time to look forward to this).  And I’m looking forward to traveling to Wisconsin to see my great-granddaughter Melody for the first time.  It occurs to me that I should have placed this one first, but the truth is my insurance and the X-Files will come around before the trip, unfortunately.  And ME: Andromeda.  Well, I’m just really looking forward to that.

There will be other things I am looking forward to looking forward to, as well.  I don’t know what they all are yet, but they will crop up in the future.

I will be happy as I look forward to them, too.  I know this is true.

You know what?  It could have been Bernie Sanders who said it.

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