A little over a year ago, I agreed to volunteer as the parish council president at my church in Los Angeles. Swamped at work, overwhelmed with things to do, I was sure this obligation would make me miserable -- but at least earn me a few days less in purgatory.
I was wrong. Yes, I attend more parish functions than ever, volunteer at events, and drag my family along to help whenever I can. But it all makes me, for some reason, happy.
The elusive “why” in all this is hinted at in a recent deluge of articles and video, seeking to unravel the mystery of what makes us happy -- a mystery only because the things we expect bring happiness rarely do, and the real answer is too shockingly simple to believe.
In Thursday’s New York Times, columnist Nicholas Kristof writes about Costa Rica, home to people listed as the “happiest on earth,” according to a database compiled by a Dutch sociologist.