French For Happy
French thinking can teach us a lot about happiness. Though they have a very serious side, who else but the French put frivolity and frippery in the 'must have' box?
Actually, I had to check that word 'frippery'. Not the sort of term I use in daily conversation. "Hey, if you're going down to the shops can you pick up a couple of fripperies? We're nearly out of them. Running short."
But, that's all right. Because if the French like a frippery, then we can all enjoy fripperies too.
Of course, just so you know, I'm using my 'General Eyes' here. But French people do love a bit of frill and frou-frou. It's what they do.
Yeah, I know French people are all different. But they do have a few things in common. Like...um.. they're all French (a good start). And, they all get the English jokes about snails hiding in fear and legions of frogs in wheelchairs. So that proves they've got a sense of humour.
Oh yeah, they also take pleasure in the simple things. Like good food.
And isn't it fantastic?
You can't eat good French cooking without going all 'ooh ahh' and 'gaga' about how beautiful it tastes. Not saying there aren't any other good foods elsewhere. Just that the French make food such an experience (I think 'Oo la lah', says it all without saying anything).
And how's this? You go through a typical French village and what do you find? You'll find a Boulangerie (that's a bakery with frills), a florist (with frills of course), and a lingerie shop (with more frills than you poke a stick at). That alone tells you the French have got their priorities right.
They know what makes a good life and they're pretty matter of fact about it.
Drive around the French countryside and everywhere you'll find homes with flower boxes and French blue shutters. Nice. Got to like a culture that reckons a proper house has got to have flowers and a few decorations.
And, like some other parts of the world, there's the lunch break. Now, don't know about you, but I reckon that's a top idea. Course, it only works if everybody knows not to want to go to the shops between 10.00 in the morning and 2.00 in the afternoon. Otherwise, you'll be wondering why the streets are deserted and all the stores are shut. Maybe zombies on their way. Stops them queuing up to buy pastries, or a posy, or something lacy with frou-frou.
Now this is kind of a European thing, isn't it? Where people take their time to enjoy life rather than just work flat out. That's so sensible the alternative makes you slap your forehead with your open palm and say 'Go figure.'
You can't be happy if you're always working. Got to rest. Take it easy. Share a meal with a few friends or your family. Or someone else's family. Or your pet dog Roger (Though other pets are okay. Just that they need to be called 'Roger', because that's what dogs do to visitor's legs).
Anyway, one of the things you notice is that the whole fast food thing is the total opposite to that. You rush in to a McDonga. Place your order. Grab a table or bench and shove it in your gob. Minutes later, you're done.
But for more traditional French people (and Spanish and Italians and others I'm too lazy or ignorant to mention), having a meal is a celebration. No rushing! Nuh. It's all about coming together and having a good nosh up with people you know, enjoying life and talking your head off on the way.
That focus on the simple pleasures of life can't be beat, I reckon. No bag of cold fries, soggy burger, and deep fried apple pouch can touch it.
I mean, when all you want is a tasty meal, opening a bag full of lukewarm processed stuff feels like uncovering someone's stomach contents.
Don't get me wrong. I'll eat it if there's nothing else. But it's not exactly food that makes you feel good. Just queasy and little bit uneasy.
Before you say, "But, Larrikin, the French eat junk food too you know!" Yeah, I know they do. But in their heart they want the good stuff. and that's the thing. In the long run, you always go in the direction of what your heart says.
Mind you, my heart says boom-boom, boom-boom, boom-boom... Which probably means I should concentrate on not driving over the those reflectors in the middle of the road. But you know what I mean.
The French even have their own word for 'happy' which is: 'content' (Try saying with a strong Fronch Excent). And I've got to say, how smart is that?
I reckon they've sussed it out. Found the wise way. Tickled the trout. Uncovered a nugget.
The French don't have to leap too far across the lake to figure that contentment is what happiness is about. Not just buying crap. But finding satisfaction and enjoying the simple things.
At least, that's the French country way. Go to Paris and it all turns to merd. But then, they have different ways of being happy. And what would A. Larrikin know about that?