Happiness is one of those things that it’s either rude or naive to talk about these days. Only an eejit would respond to “How are you?” by saying “I’m very joyful today.” But wouldn’t it be great if we were all a bit more eejit-y?
The first of the two bringers of joy I’m going to discuss is exercise. A sterile gym, full of blank-faced skinny people running and running and getting nowhere isn’t an immediately obvious home for a seeker of happiness. But it should be.
When I descend from a treadmill, I am generally dripping in sweat. I often have friction burns on my armpits and thighs and I’m huffing and puffing like a wolf fresh from blowing down the house of a little pig. And yet, while I stagger around the gym floor, slightly dizzy and very sore, a joy runs through me. It starts in my little toe. It courses through my veins and my arteries. And I feel like jumping straight back up on that treadmill and running forever.
And later that evening, when I lie in bed, little trills of tiredness flow through my muscles and my knees tingle in quasi-orgasmic spasms.
The other anti-depressant provided by the world around us is the musical. Last week, I had the great pleasure of seeing the Kilmacud Musical Society’s production of “Oklahoma!”
Yes, the chorus of the Kilmacud Musical Society lacks depth in talent, but the child-on-Christmas-morning-ecstasy of watching Will sing that “Everything’s up-to-date in Kansas City” while he teaches Aunt Eller the two-step and shows the men how to lasso is incomprable.
I exaggerate. It’s not an incomprable ecstasy. Because 40 minutes later, I was throwing caution to the wind and singing along to “Oooooooklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain” and the ecstasy was doubled.
I’m being irrepressibly cheery here, and I apologise. I’m sure something calamitous will happen soon and everything will be back to normal.