Be Mr Happy, not Mr Miserable
We want to be Mr Happy, right? Smiling, cheerful, looking forward optimistically to better days ahead. (Nod your head if you agree)
We don’t want to be Mr Miserable, do we ? (shake your head here). Downcast, constantly complaining, always a grump.
(Before I continue, genders are interchangeable. I’m not skilful enough to write any other way).
Let’s look at some friends of mine, to see what we can learn:
Mr Eternally Cheerful
Nothing dismays this man. Life can throw misery and turmoil at him (and Lord knows there is enough around right now) but nothing can deter him from having a good time. He could be in Covid lockdown, up to his knees in floodwater or in receipt of another P45 – the man would still be smiling.
Mr Great Encourager
Mr Encourager is an amateur psychologist. He knows when to keep quiet, can empathise in any situation, has just the right touch. That might be a sympathetic glance, a touch on the shoulder – or a (socially distanced) full on man hug. Touching another could land you in court these days, but this man know how to do that with charm and grace.
Mr Looking Out for You
You need this man as your neighbour. He’ll put your bins out in all weathers, salt your snow bound driveway – maybe even mow your lawn while he’s got his Flymo out. And he’ll do all this without expectation of reward. In a different life he might have been the Pope.
Mr Shrewd Praiser
This one is more subtle – the right phrase, a murmured word of encouragement when times are tough and the odd pat on the back when life delivers you a small triumph (like, say, 1000 followers on Instagram). Hint.
Think Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. Salt of the earth, heart of gold. Should have been your Dad.
Ok, now lets look at some more acquaintances, some of the other sort …
You know this sort – reddy face, veins a busting, blood pressure permanently in orbit. Willing to tell you that your car wheels have strayed onto his drive, or your tree has dropped a few leaves on his garden. If he’s driving, he’s the one behind you at the traffic lights, tooting if you are a millisecond late at the off. Do not be this man.
“Awfully sorry” he’ll say, as he disturbs your Sunday morning peace with unnecessary lawn mowing. Or he’ll knock on your door to apologise for accidentally spraying your car with his hose. Quiet, self effacing – he could easily be in the nice category but he’s just not quite got it somehow.
Mr Doom and Gloom
Avoid conversation with this character, unless you want your own mood to head south faster than a vaccinated grandfather. Nothing’s the same any more. It’s all too expensive, complicated or scarce. New things bad, old things good. Harkens back to a 1950s paradise, ignoring that it was an era of corsets and 2 TV channels. Listen to this individual at your peril.
Mr Been there, done that
One of these in every bar in town. He’s been to every town in the world, met famous people, seen all the plays, films and bands you can mention. Done it all, wants to top your story. This one won’t depress you much, but don’t expect to better his tale.
I’m in a Facebook group about jokes. Puns. Mild and innoucuous humour. Nice bunch of people, always charming and friendly, and most welcoming to new members. But insert a misplaced comma or aberrant apostrophe into a post and the pedants descend upon you with unremitting assault on your parentage, education and upbringing.
Why be Mr Happy?
My mum used to say “If you can’t be the sunshine, don’t be the rain” Being cheerful cheers up everyone around you. Unbounded optimism for the future is a great character trait. And if you can’t manage that – try a smile at least.
There are ways to make money in retirement. It is a great way to spend your leisure hours, especially if you can find something you enjoy doing. Unfortunately, it’s not going to make you rich unless you devote many hours to your task, and that’s not really retirement!