Friday, July 19, 2013

My New Plan for World Happiness

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.”
― Roald Dahl

Kids are born with this incredible sense of wonder.  You can see it in their reactions.  Babies startle and smile when wind blows over their fat little cheeks.  Toddlers stare intently at the undulations of a caterpillar.  They stop (actually stop in their tracks) to watch an airplane move across the sky.  Every day is filled with new surprises and magic.  Where does it go?

An blog from Psychology Today estimates that children laugh 300 times a day.  A 40-year-old adult laughs only four.  Are we that burdened by bills and deadlines and worries that we can only manage a chuckle at breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks?  As an adult who laughs way more than four times a day (but, sadly, way LESS than 300), I am pretty sure that much of the problem lies in our boredom and lack of wonder.  We've SEEN hot air balloons.  We understand that when someone crouches down behind the couch they are really still there. So even when they jump up and yell "surprise," we're no longer caught off guard.  Boring, boring, boring.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user tobit_e
I woke up this morning with a solution:  I think Congress should approve a Superhero Day.  It would be just like Earth Day or President's Day or Labor Day.  Actually, it would be more like Labor Day so people could have a three-day-weekend. I think three-day-weekends are especially important for cultivating joy.

I know, I know.  You're looking at me with your non-laughing adult eyes and thinking, "What is she even TALKING ABOUT?  Does SHE know?  This constant blather bores me."

Well, I woke up thinking about how when I was a little girl, I BELIEVED I could do impossible things.  I know you did, too, so stop looking at me like I'm nuts.  I would jump off my grandparents' porch over and over with umbrellas or towels wrapped around my neck like a cape BELIEVING I would eventually fly.  Some might simply call me an idiot who doesn't learn a lesson but I really did believe.  There's a teensy part of me that still believes.

I also believed in Santa.  I mean I FERVENTLY believed in Santa.  Who wouldn't want to believe in a magical fat elf with a toy factory who knows your name and who knows exactly what you want for Christmas?  I got a sweater once for Christmas and I honestly believed that Mrs. Claus had knitted it for me herself.  I swear I did.

I believed in stuff when I was kid.  And, here's the kicker:  I believed in myself.  I believed I was smart.  I believed all the hype in school when teachers tell you that you can do anything you set your mind to. (Eminem says this also....which totally must make it true.)  I believed that I could be an astronaut or a pilot or the president of the United States.  And, at one point or another, I wanted to be all those things.  Life was magic.

OK, I get on a roll when I start talking about this stuff...back to Superhero Day.

Here are the rules of Superhero Day (because we're adults, I know you can't fully believe in something unless it comes with rules):
  • No one can work on Superhero Day.  That's right.  We're shutting down WALMART and TARGET and MCDONALD'S.  (Imagine how peaceful our planet would be for a day if we shut down everything for 24 hours.)  For a day, we're letting magic and imagination rule the world.  No tired, grumpy folks.  For those of you who don't cook, just order takeout the day before and graze on the leftovers.  If the power plants can't run without people....so be it.  No power.  No open gas stations.  NO ONE WORKS.  Remember the days when Sunday meant stores were closed and banks were closed?  Hearken back.  No one works on Superhero Day because you can't always work and believe in the magic of life. 
  • Everyone gets a cape.  Everyone.  And your cape can be whatever color you wish.  Mine would be red because red is the best color. (See?  I already sound like a five-year-old.)  Your cape can have stars on it or pickles or whatever you want.  But it must be a beautiful cape in your eyes.  You have to look at that cape and feel tears prick the back of your eyes because you think it's so beautiful.  Because everyone knows that in beauty we find magic. 
  • On Superhero Day, you have to do ONE NICE THING for someone else.  Just one.  And you get to pick the nice thing.  And no one has to even KNOW ABOUT IT.  You could leave flowers on the doorstep of your neighbor.  You can pay someone's power bill.  You can bring a cake to a favorite teacher.  You can smile at that guy you always frown at.  You can forgive your spouse for not being perfect.  Pick one nice thing and do it.  Because everyone knows that kindness is magic.
  • No one gets hurt on Superhero Day.  That's right.  No mean words are exchanged.  No one hits anyone else (INCLUDING, but not limited to, spanking).  No one gets yelled at (because everyone knows that words hurt most of all).  People put their weapons away on Superhero Day...all their weapons, including the ones you can't see but only feel.  Because everyone knows that being safe is magic.  
Superhero Day, once a year, could help to restore our embattled spirits.  For one day, we could all learn to appreciate each other and our limited time here on earth.  I think we should institute it right away.  Or maybe we can just implement some of the rules starting today.

Happy Superhero Day to you and yours.  Find the magic.

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2 comments:

  1. I love this idea, but there's only one small problem:

    The world contains 6.974 billion people.

    The US has 313.9 billion people. 313.4 of these people are dumbasses. That will bring Superhero Day to a screeching and premature halt.

    And my cape would be black.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Baaaaahahhaaahaaah!

      You ol' curmudgeon!

      Delete