Looking back on it, I think I could have been happier last year.

It’s not as if I was unhappy the entire year, and it’s not as if I had a great reason to be unhappy. It’s more as if I was distracted by one annoying problem after another, and I could never get beyond one thing before another overtook me.

So I resolved, in an unofficial sort of way, to have a happier new year.

I resolved to be happy when I arrived at work (even if I wasn’t), happy to help my kids with their homework (even if my favorite TV show is on), happy to yield to everyone at every intersection (regardless of who really should be yielding), happy to carry out the trash (even though our sons are old enough to do it now), happy to unstuff the endlessly hair-clogged sink drains in our house (even though it isn’t my hair)…

Well, you get the picture: Having a happier life is easier said than done, particularly when I kept thinking of trivial reasons why I shouldn’t actually be happy.

So then, I thought, if I can’t actually be happier, I could at least give other people that impression. Then people won’t ask me if I’m happy or not, which inevitably makes me unhappy.

In my attempt to project happiness, I decided to emulate the happiest person I know — Alexa Conomos on WFAA-TV. Of course, I don’t actually know Alexa, but anyone who can smile as much as she does and talk about traffic at 6 a.m. every weekday morning must be happy: Everything she says is said with a big, wide smile.

I decided to emulate Alexa, training myself by standing in front of a mirror while practicing saying the following phrase, smiling all the while: “There’s a minor accident [toothy smile] on Woodall Rogers at I-35, and traffic is slow at the LBJ-Central Expressway interchange [toothy smile], but on the I-30/Tom Landry Highway, it’s smooth sailing [big toothy smile] all the way from Grand Prairie to downtown.”

I tried saying this phrase, happily, a few times in the mirror. But my mouth wouldn’t cooperate — it kept curling from dog-smile to grin to flatline to scowl. My cheeks even hurt from all of the smiling.

Granted, it hasn’t been long, but I’m not so sure about this particular resolution anymore. Trying so hard to be happy doesn’t seem to be making me happy. In fact, I’m starting to think maybe I was happier last year when I wasn’t really sure I was happy at all.


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