Bob Groeneveld has been sharing his Odd Thoughts with Langley readers for the past four decades, give or take a few months.

Bob Groeneveld has been sharing his Odd Thoughts with Langley readers for the past four decades, give or take a few months.

Odd Thoughts: Smile for a year of happiness

May you take this grin and let it lead you in to the New Year

By Bob Groeneveld

.

Now is the time to kick back and relax.

No more slaving in the kitchen for a while. The Christmas dinners are all consumed, and the leftovers will make living easy for the next few days – if you don’t mind fried stuffing for breakfast, turkey sandwiches for lunch, and turkey soup for supper… for a week.

Most folks will have finished their Christmas shopping by now, except those poor, misguided souls who still believe they can save a few bucks at Boxing Week sales before visiting loved ones they’ve managed to avoid so far.

Personally, I’ve never left Christmas shopping to the very last minute.

And now that I’m retired, I find I can shop for gifts at a more relaxed pace than ever. Nowadays I easily tick off everyone on my Christmas list several hours before the stores close on Christmas Eve.

And I can do it without getting ticked off by every frustrated – and frustrating – sales clerk who has been run off her/his feet for the past month.

Some time ago, I had noticed while Christmas shopping – far too close to Christmas – that practically everyone around me looked miserable.

Here we were, just moments from the most joyous day of the year, looking for gifts to lift the hearts of friends and family and the people we hold most dear to ourselves – and everyone was consumed by angst.

I had recently read in a science journal that not only does happiness make you smile, but smiling makes you happy. The act of smiling releases chemicals into your brain that lift your spirits.

And more remarkably, just seeing someone smile causes the release of those same chemicals.

All my life, I’ve loved doing science. And all around me was a perfect opportunity to conduct an experiment.

So I strapped on the biggest, silliest smile I could muster, and I walked up and down the mall, making eye contact with as many people as I could.

And sure enough, they started smiling right back at me.

Yes, some of those smiles were because people thought I was crazy.

Indeed, a few of them laughed. Out loud. But they weren’t laughing at me. At least, not for long, because soon they were laughing with me.

My own forced smile became real, and I found that the whole thing had made me feel genuinely happy.

Have you ever run into one of those street-corner clowns and wondered how they can do what they do? I think I touched their world for just a moment… and it was nice place to be.

I know you can’t see me right now, but I’m sitting here smiling my silly face off.

And I’m hoping it’s catching.

It’s my wish that my great big contented grin is being transmitted directly to you like some kind of literary contagion.

And I would like nothing better than that we all should be infected throughout the coming year.

Happy 2020, everyone!

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Riverside Calvary Church in Walnut Grove. (Langley Advance Times file)
B.C. is ‘stereotyping’ churches as riskier for COVID than other spaces, lawyer argues

Judge said that freedom of expression, religion are not at issue in the case

Jennifer Brooks with a stone tablet that adorns the memorial to her son Hudson, outside the South Surrey RCMP detachment parkade where he was fatally shot by police in July 2015. (File photo)
Coroner’s inquest underway to examine Hudson Brooks’ 2015 police-shooting death

Witness recalls ‘feeling scared’ for South Surrey man in moments before RCMP fired fatal shots

A player is checked in prior to the start of play in a North Langley Softball video produced to demonstrate COVID-19 safety measures are in place (Danica Reed video/special to Langley Advance Times)
Playing it safe: North Langley Softball produces COVID safety video

Intended to answer parental concerns about precautions while practicing during a pandemic

Vancouver Giants president, governor and majority owner Ron Toigo welcomed the provincial announcement made on Monday, Mar. 1, 2021 that the province could soon allow WHL teams to resume competitive play. (Vancouver Giants/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Return to play report welcomed by Vancouver Giants team

Owner, coach and players pleased by news WHL could soon resume play in B.C.

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

Abbotsford Regional Hospital (Black Press file photo)
Nurse assaulted at Abbotsford hospital in same ward as 2019 dumbbell attack

BC Nurses’ Union confirms assault on Feb. 21; more details to come

Nanaimo RCMP are looking for a suspect who smashed the window of an adult toy store and made off with more than $1,200 in merchandise. (File photo)
Vancouver Island sex shop out $1,200 in merchandise after suspect steals ‘colossal’ product

Suspect smashed window of Nanaimo store, cutting himself in the process

B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell gets acquainted with Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Kim Baird’s 10-month-old daughter Sophia, husband Steve and four-year-old Amy at the B.C. legislature before a ceremony to endorse the Tsawwassen Treaty, Oct. 15, 2007. (Sharon Tiffin/Black Press)
Indigenous consent comes first and last for B.C. industrial projects

Environment minister can still approve permits without consent

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

After a routine rescue of an injured hiker, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue noted there have been four injury rescues on well-groomed trails in recent months. (Special to The News)
Injured hiker rescued from Golden Ears park

Be prepared in the backcountry, warns Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue

B.C.’s court of appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Kootenay man appeals 7-year conviction for New Year’s Eve kidnapping, beating

Brandon Coons, 27, was convicted on five charges, including assault with a weapon

An investigation is underway after two VPD officers were recorded posing for pictures near a dead body at Third Beach on Feb. 24. (Screen grab/Zachary Ratcliff)
Vancouver officers placed on desk duty after filmed posing next to dead body

Pair put in ‘non-deployable, admin positions’ as the investigation into their conduct continues

(Black Press file photo)
Homicide team to look into death of 11-year-old Agassiz boy

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

Most Read