It Doesn’t Take a Whole Lot to Be Happy

an image of a cute sick bandaged hare to show the concept of finding happiness while being sick in bed.
Even when you're trapped inside your house in a strange town, without loved ones or access to medical care, you can still laugh silly...

A recent viral infection kept me in bed with a fever, chills, headache, and an incessant cough. There seemed to be unlimited gunk in my chest. I could hear it rattle like a noisy furnace. My body ached no matter what position I was in. Nothing was comfortable for longer than five minutes.


After a particularly violent fit of cough, I remembered I used to get sick at each new job. One time I was taken down to the emergency room halfway through my work shift, and another time, my coworkers put me in a wheelchair and wheeled me to my car in the parking garage.


Is this viral infection some kind of initiation, a rite of passage? Like breaking into a new pair of shoes, does one have to break into a new environment?

This is an image of a teddy bear sick in bed, which shows the concept of someone who is sick and bedridden.
by Rawf8

Where do people see a doctor here? Not feeling well lately, I texted a new friend.


She didn’t reply.


I told myself she must be hiking somewhere in the mountains surrounding the town. I’d gone with her on two separate occasions. The high altitude made me extra sweaty at the end of the trips, but the view was so worth it.


She must be having a good time, I thought. Everyone seemed to have a good time. Lying in bed, I could hear children laughing on the street, and the birds singing in the trees.


The weather outside was so sunny that it hurt to watch through the windows. My pink lilies lounged around with unbridled ease, not the least concerned by my distress.


I decided to cheer myself up with an old movie. After some Googling, I found Desire (1936) by Marlene Dietrich, one of the earliest romantic comedies.


What could be more fitting for my initiation in Mexico?


I wrapped myself in a pile of blankets and started watching. Ten minutes into the movie, I giggled like a schoolgirl until I ran out of breath. I even forgot about the cough and the gigantic headache.


How refreshing it is to see a movie stripped of flashy colors and technology, leaving only a good plot and artful acting to bring alive a memorable story.


Really, it doesn’t take a whole lot to make you happy. Even when you’re trapped inside your house in a strange town, without loved ones or access to medical care, you can still laugh silly.


That’s happiness, isn’t it?

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Dr. Ivy Ge

Doctor of Pharmacy, author of The Art of Good Enough. She writes to inspire women to design their own fate. Her writings and interviews have been featured on MSNBC, Thrive Global, Working Mother magazine, Parentology, and The Times of India.

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