Find happiness in the day-to-day mundane, friends and family and your cat or dog

I’ve just read Giles Coren’s comment article in The Times today, November 11, 2023 which discusses Barbra Streisand’s statement when promoting her memoir in which she said that she hasn’t had fun in her life and that she wants to have some fun now and ‘live life’ which in her words, means:

“I want to get in my husband’s truck and just wander, hopefully with the children somewhere near us. Life is fun for me when they come over. They love playing with the dogs and we have fun.”

Fun, for Barbra Streisand, is just a nice day with the family, with her kids, with her dogs messing around or just driving around with her husband not far from home. In other words, the mundane, but the key element, as I see it, is the presence of family, friends and cats and dogs. Companion animals play a big role in the formula for fun. And of course, other people do too.

Barbra Streisand. Image credit: see base of page.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

It seems that to have fun you need to have at least some sort of network of friends if you live alone and if you are lucky enough to have a family who are now grown-up, they should come over and spend some time with you to play with the dogs.

Coren says that he doesn’t have dogs but he lives with a cat as I recall, called Mo Tenzing. And he perhaps thought like most people at one time that to have fun you’ve got to be partying, going to festivals, going on great holidays and doing all the things that news media and the magazines tell us to do if we want to have fun. But it is all a chimera.

Coren realises that he is having fun and he provides us with a long list of the day-to-day things he does involving his family; the routines of life, which include his cat sitting on his lap while he reads a book in bed (The Bee Sting by Paul Murray).

And interestingly, while I’m dictating this article, my cat is on my lap and I am in bed. He is interfering with my operation of the computer but I allow him to do this because it’s more fun this way. He provides me with some emotional warmth. He is my companion.

I do have a small network of friends but I would like a larger network as I live alone. And being almost 75, my life is one of maintenance; maintaining myself, my cat, my home, my car, my garden and my sanity.

These are mundane things, routines (which cats love by the way) but we need to take pleasure from and do them better every day. Take pleasure in doing them better.

Barbra Streisand’s definition of having fun might surprise people. It is somewhat of a revelation from a person who to others was living a life of fun. A highly successful life with desirable, hunky husbands. A highly successful career with Oscars, Emmys, Tonys and Grammys. She sold millions of records and made millions of dollars. She must live in a beautiful house and her husband has got to be a very nice man.

But for decades, she wasn’t having fun. She didn’t like the business I guess and she had some bad experiences. Perhaps it is fair to say that someone who is so high profile and in the public eye so much, the mundane and normal, at home, out of sight, truly is the definition of fun.

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P.S. When you become an old person, you can’t have fun without health. You got to focus on your health which means doing some basic old-fashioned things like eating properly, not eating too much, being slightly hungry after you’ve eaten, exercising moderately, not smoking, staying off the booze. Keeping down your weight is very important. Your BMI should be between 20-25. The bedrock of happiness in old age is to be as healthy as possible and then you build on that in the way I describe above.

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Image credit: By NIH Image Gallery from Bethesda, Maryland, USA – Barbra Streisand with Francis Collins and Anthony Fauci, Public Domain,

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