Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit

Don’t Worry, Be Happy


Here is a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don’t worry, be happy
In every life we have some trouble
When you worry, you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy…

It has been 20 years since Bobby McFerrin first sang those words. I remember when I first heard the song. It was cute and quaint.

And then I got really tired of it.

I thought, how can anyone take such a positive attitude to life?

A lot can change in 20 years.

In the time since McFerrin first sang those words there have been numerous studies and reports on happiness.

Happiness is a right

Happiness can be taught

Happiness can be mapped

For most of us, happiness is conditional.

If I get that promotion, I’ll be happy.

If I get that new car, I’ll be happy.

If I had a million dollars, I’d be happy.

If I make that sale, I’ll be happy.

If s/he asks me out, I’ll be happy.

In reality, we only have one choice in life: Do I want to be happy or don’t I want to be happy?

That’s it. No ifs, ands, or buts, and no conditions because when we put conditions on our happiness, we are saying that we’d like to be happy, but not if I don’t get that promotion, the new car, the million dollars, or the sale.

Happiness is under our control. And I’m sure most of us would answer “yes” to the question “Do you want to be happy?”

In other words, “Do you want to be happy from this point forward for the rest of your life, regardless of what happens?”

Well, yes…
…as long as the market doesn’t crash
…or my car doesn’t crap out on me

Without condition; any condition you put on your happiness will limit your happiness.

But I don’t have control over those things.

Face it; you can’t control things and keep them the way you want them.

It has taken me several years to finally get that through my head. There are things I can control and things I cannot control. Granted, when things are going well, it is easy to be happy. But when life gets difficult, it isn’t so easy.

Are you willing to break your vow of happiness because certain events took place?

We flew down to Philadelphia last month. On the way to the airport we received word that our flight was delayed. So we decided to take our time and have an early dinner while waiting at the airport. And then our flight was delayed again. Now we were concerned we might be late for the family gathering. This delay routine continued a few more times due to weather conditions. All flights were being held from entering Philly airspace because of summer storms. There was nothing we could do about it. And there was a silver-lining in all of this.

Our flight should have left around 4pm. Another flight to Philly on the same airline was to leave at 5:30pm.

That flight boarded and pushed away from the gate.

And had to sit on the tarmac until given permission to take off.

I couldn’t complain about the delays because we were in the airport…with food and drink…and bathrooms…and air conditioning.

Don’t worry, be happy

Our purpose in life is to enjoy and learn from our experiences. We weren’t put on earth to suffer. And we don’t help anybody by being miserable.

There are two facts in life: we were born and we will die. How we spend our time between those two events is our choice.

There is this little song I wrote
I hope you learn it note for note
Like good little children
Don’t worry, be happy
Listen to what I say
In your life expect some trouble
But when you worry
You make it double
Don’t worry, be happy…
Don’t worry, don’t do it, be happy
Put a smile on your face
Don’t bring everybody down like this
Don’t worry, it will soon pass
Whatever it is
Don’t worry, be happy

8 thoughts on “Don’t Worry, Be Happy

  1. Your post reminded me of something that happened about 5 years ago when I was still working at my elementary school. Every year in June, our school would hold a ‘Field Day’ where the entire student population of 300+ and staff boarded buses and went to a local campground for games, crafts, and a picnic. It was a big deal, and the planning always led to a lot of stress and complaints among the staff.
    Anyway, on that June day, there was a torrential rainstorm..Everyone was freaking out about what we’d do about Field Day. Suddenly, on the intercom, the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” came on, followed by an announcement by my principal-who never let anything bother him!-that the fun and games would take place in the hallways and cafeteria…The staff and kids got a good laugh and the show went on..

  2. Amy,
    This post has a lot of meaning for me right now in my life. I just returned home on Sunday from Texas, where my family buried my Dad. He passed away on July 1st. The last year was incredibly hard for him because as you know, my Mom passed away on May 1st of last year. For some unkown reason, God chose to keep him here with us for another 14 months. I honestly believe it was because he was still needed here so he could perhaps touch that one last person that could benifit from his kindness. He was the kindest man I ever knew. He treated everyone equal, from his family, to his Cardiologists, to the cleaning woman who came into his room everyday.

    I’m not worried…I’m happy. My parents are together, and they will never be separated again. I have a smile on my face. 🙂

  3. Dora, that is a great story! Isn’t it interesting how we remember certain songs and the events they were attached to.

    Paula, I’m sorry to hear about your Dad’s passing. The loss of a loved one is never easy. It is wonderful that during your grief you are able to find the beauty of his life and how it touched many people. Peace.


  4. Very nice, Amy… It’s funny.. last night I was doing a little complaining (ok, well maybe a lot) about things that have to get done around the house, work, etc… I started to a make list of actions so I could get them out of my head and on paper. My husband says..”so what are you so stressed about” and I really couldn’t answer him and then I realized, I guess I have nothing to complain about… all is good. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. Thanks for the reminding post.

  5. Aahhh, Amy, now I understand what you and Judy were talking about last night.

    Everything you shared in your post is so, so true. The only thing that we have control over in our lives is ourselves and the choices we make. And one of those choices is to wake up every morning and be happy. Happy that we woke up to see another day. Happy for all of the wonderful things in our lives and also for the not so wonderful things because it is those challenges, like your plane delay, that lead us in new directions and new ways of thinking. It is the challenges that shape our growth as human beings.

    Your post reminded me of a conversation I had with my SIL years ago when she shared with me her approach to life. She wakes up every morning and makes the conscious choice to be positive no matter what happens that day. You know how some things stay with you and you always remember them? That conversation has stayed with me all these years and I think about it often, especially when faced with challenges in my life. As always, thanks for sharing your heartfelt thoughts.

  6. Hi Judy and Karen,

    Isn’t it interesting to realize that often times our complaining really serves no purpose when everything is put into perspective.

    Karen your SIL has a great perspective on life. She’s right; we can choose to be positive in our day or to be negative. And we both know which choice sounds better!


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