Are You Happy Yet?

Are You Happy Yet? Perhaps it’s an illusion (or maybe just hormones), but as I get older I find that I have a greater sense of inner peace than I did in my youth. I am still astonished by how cruel people can be toward others—that never stops as I fight to end animal abuse.

And life’s complications can sometimes seem overwhelming. But in spite of the challenges and pressures that the world throws at me, I harbor a certain joy in experiencing it all for one more day. At just plain living.

As I handed out leaflets at a Pretenders concert the other night-with a smile on my face-I wasn’t the least bit perturbed by the predictable comments over what PETA stands for or how tasty somebody’s steak dinner was. Instead, I rejoiced and was delighted when people thanked me, told me that they are PETA members,  let me know that their daughter is vegan, or expressed how much they appreciated my being there. I guess I’ve learned to let in the good and block out the aggravations. The naysayers couldn’t have really believed that they could get through to me, could they? No way!

Laura Carstensen, the director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, has discovered through her research that most people get happier as they get older.

Over the years, we learn to manage our emotions, appreciate and make good use of our time, and avoid letting the stressful aspects of life get through to us. Of course, we need to lead healthy lifestyles to feel happy and to interact with the world beyond our jobs and homes. And I have it on good authority that it is impossible to have a peaceful mind if you are racked with pain-which trumps all other emotional states. That’s something to consider when it comes to animal abuse, since we all share the same basic nervous system. Animals certainly aren’t happy when they’re abused. But what about well-cared-for companions and animals in the wild? Do they get happier with age? You tell me.

Since the best way to stay healthy as we age is to follow a vegan lifestyle, here is my modest proposal. As we take on the challenges involved in stopping animal suffering, let’s be healthy, make every day count, stay connected, and do so for as long as possible.

Don’t worry, we’ll be happy!