A Word to the Wise: Happy days are always here again

By: Tom Rupp, Special to the Telegraph
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I have been thinking about asking editor Don about taking a new photo to use for my column here. The one we have been using is good enough, but it is over four years old and perhaps it is time to update it. The picture has me sporting a large smile. There’s nothing that enhances your face appeal more than a broad smile. However, my default expression is usually something less than a smile. Often my face is flat, blank, some might say sad even. I would call it “pensive.” Children sing a song that says, “If you’re happy and you know it.” You might not be able to tell that even though I feel happy, my face doesn’t always give such an indication. Perhaps you read the recent article from Friends United, a UK website, asserting that a majority of respondents said that their happiest year was at age 33. That got me to thinking. In defense of this opinion, 33 was a pretty good year. You are too old to be young yet too young to be old. If you are a parent, your children are still in that cute and naïve stage. A lot of your ignorant assurance has been softened by reality, and yet possibilities still exist. All things being equal, you still have more of a future than of a past. On the other side of this opinion stand many doubts. For instance, if this is a relatively true statement, what does it say about the rest of your life? It was Lincoln who said, “A man is about as happy as he makes up his mind to be.” Is there any chance of memorable happiness after age 33? Even asking the question seems ludicrous. I once saw a book titled “Happiness is a Choice” and, although I did not read it, accepted the premise as reasonably true. To assert that 33 is the zenith age of happiness seems to set oneself up for a lifetime of frustration and sadness. This year I will celebrate my 20th birthday after the 33rd one. Sitting here and thinking, I can honestly say that I have since experienced many happy times and look forward to many more. The Christian’s happiest days are yet ahead. So if a new picture is soon used here on this column, you can be sure that I will still be sporting a big smile. It is good to be alive. Reach Tom Rupp at