Signs of the Times

[Florence Davis in Detroit (Mich.) Journal]

We still suffer from the old Puritan tradition that happiness is one of those unnecessary luxuries on which we ought to pay a kind of constant war tax of worry or guilt or fear. Happiness is supposed to be a sort of by-product of life that one should be ashamed to try to salvage. If it may be found, all well and good. It not, it is as bad manners to reach for it as if it were the biggest piece of cake on the plate. One should wait until it is passed, and then not appear overly anxious.

But perhaps this unconscious denial of happiness as a worthy object of pursuit is in some way connected with our hazy understanding of what happiness really implies. It takes us a long time to get over our childish habit of associating happiness with the possession of things. What would make you happy? Ask a little girl and she will say, "Candy and a new doll and a new frock." Ask an older girl and she may say, "A string of pearls, a limousine, and a trip to Europe." Getting things isn't the secret, but getting a state of mind or an attitude toward life holds the answer.

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May 8, 1920

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