Lessons From My Pre-Schooler: Happiness is a Choice
I woke up this morning a bit dreary and weary from last week’s Lunar New Year celebration. My parents visited us from Malaysia so we spent the week celebrating, chit-chatting and just general merry-making. I was having a case of #mondayitis and dreading the long to-do list left over from my break last week when I opened the door to my son’s room to get him out of bed.
I found him awake, extra chirpy and bright. In fact, he continued beaming his mega-watt smile and was more bubbly than usual in general throughout the morning. Meanwhile, I was getting on my tasks: replying to the emails I marked to action when I was on a break last week… putting the laundry on (working-from-home mum “perks”)… you know, the usual Monday morning stuff.
Finally, while he was humming a tune to himself during lunch, I asked him: “Baby, why are you so happy today?”
Without missing a beat, my pre-schooler replied:
“Because I want to be happy, mama!”
Although I’m not one of those mums who worship my child, I have been thinking about what he said the whole day and reflecting upon his words.
In the humdrum of life, particularly an increasingly fast-paced one that focuses so much on productivity and results over inner work, I have forgotten that happiness is a choice, not a result.
Oftentimes, when I wake up while counting my list of things to do, I get really grumpy, which is reflected physiologically as tensed jaw and posture, which eventually become a headache, fatigue, and yes, the dreaded b-word: burn-out.
What if from the moment I open my eyes, I tell myself that today, I choose to be happy. What if I tell myself that I want to be happy, as I get ready in the morning, rather than yearning to stay in bed a while longer? I think I would be a better mother, a better companion, and a better creator.
As I sit here typing and rationalising my thoughts, I am amazed that the little human being I couldn’t bring myself to love until he was a 34-week fetus (I wrote about it here) just gave me a seven-word TED Talk.