To celebrate the annual Happiness Happens Month of July we have an extract from Catherine McCann’s Love Life: A holistic understanding of ageing. McCann explores the happiness that can be found in old age, a period she believes is as bright and fulfilling as the rest of life:
“Unlike wisdom, which can be sought, or hope, whose presence can be encouraged and fostered, joy is something that happens to us. We cannot seek it, in fact the more we consciously try to do so, the more it may elude us. It is a by-product of our attitudes and desires and the way we live our lives. Joy is more likely to emerge if we value life and note its preciousness in both the small and major happenings of ordinary everyday living, such as the smile of a baby, an unexpected meeting, the beauty of nature or an insight received. One of the greatest joys of many older people is being in the presence of their grand and great-grandchildren.
Joy is about delighting in, wondering at, being playful about, all that happens in the world around us, as well as what takes place within ourselves. Everything,
including tragic moments, can in some way have a joy-filled dimension. One of the great joyous moments is undoubtedly for a mother at the birth of her child. She forgets the pain when the baby is born. Yet why is it that joy seems to evaporate, appear almost absent in the lives of many? Undoubtedly there is great suffering in the lives of numerous people across the world, due to extreme forms of poverty, wars, terrorist activities etc. We are indeed largely fortunate living in Europe where experiencing joy is not beyond reach. Yet it is also astonishingly true that contagious joy can be found among the poorest of the poor. While living without even basic food and water supplies, they yet have the freedom to capture the joy of the moment in a way that we in the West sometimes miss.”
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