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Extreme happiness

Published June 14. 2014 09:00AM

I think it's a hoot to read the list of precautions of some medications. It makes you wonder why you would want to take that pill when the side effects are worse than the condition or ailment.

My friend Dora did a comedy routine at our Ladies Spring Fling and addressed that same issue: "Just once I'd like to read that one of the side effects of a medication could cause extreme sexiness."

That stirs up a vision of all us old ladies on estrogen going out and getting Marilyn Monroe blond hairstyles and wearing white halter top pleated dresses looking for air vents on sidewalks and old guys wearing cuffed skintight jeans with their white T-shirt sleeves rolled to hold their pack of cigarettes, James Dean style. Of course I don't know how sexy a few varicose leg veins and upper arm wings that flap in the wind are on us gals in our sexy outfits. Or how much sex appeal there is in suspenders holding up the old guys' jeans worn below a pot belly and what few hairs they have left on the top of their heads gelled to look like James Dean's pompadour. Instead of a cigarette dangling from their mouths, now oxygen tubes are stuffed up their noses.

OK. Forget extreme sexiness.

I sit in awe when a television commercial comes on for Celebrex. It features people with arthritis who are so happy because they take Celebrex and can now do all those things they couldn't do before. But while an aging Ken and Barbie are walking, biking, hiking and swimming, a cautionary voice warns that Celebrex "may cause an increased risk of serious cardiovascular thrombotic events, myocardial infarction and stroke, which can be fatal. Patients with cardiovascular disease or risk factors for cardiovascular disease may be at greater risk. Celebrex can cause an increased risk of serious gastrointestinal adverse events including bleeding, ulceration, and perforation of the stomach or intestines, which can be fatal. These events can occur at any time during use and without warning symptoms. Elderly patients are at greater risk for serious gastrointestinal events."

So remind me again, why would I want to take Celebrex?

I was recently prescribed a medication and one of the side effects actually made me laugh out loud: "May cause extreme happiness."

Swear to God! Those are the exact words.

That got me wondering. What is extreme happiness? Happy on steroids?

Extreme means above ordinary or average, exceedingly great in degree. Happiness means the state of being happy, pleasure, contentment, joy.

Achieving happiness is a goal most of us aspire to. Did you know there's even a magazine that is totally geared to helping us find happiness? It's called, "Live Happy," which is touted as the first lifestyle magazine "completely dedicated to sharing information and resources to assist in our timeless pursuit of happiness."

Did you know that Harvard University offers a course in happiness? Universities are teaching positive psychology, as countries around the world appoint happiness chiefs and change policies to help raise overall happiness levels of their populations.

I interviewed some Pleasant Valley High School seniors for an assignment for the paper. Then I asked a few seniors if they have ever experienced extreme happiness.

Sarah Klein, 17, said she is experiencing it right now as she prepares to graduate.

"Now I get to explore the world and live life," she said.

Her twin sister, Marissa, said she felt extreme happiness as a member of the high school marching band.

"It would happen every time I'd get on the field and I'd be in the zone ... the happiness zone," she said.

I think we may have all had moments of extreme happiness. Mine include holding my baby daughter for the first time, repeating our marriage vows on our 25th wedding anniversary, winning my first writing award ... oh my, I just realized I could fill a book with moments of extreme happiness in my life, which makes me a very fortunate person.

I love PV senior Adam Alexander's answer.

"It's when you find something you love to do. It's going to school every day. It's being with your friends. It's coming home after school and being with your family. I have extreme happiness every day of my life."

Adam has it right. Happiness is a state of being happy, finding good fortune, pleasure, contentment and joy in our everyday lives, then being extremely grateful for it.

It's probably everyone's goal to be able to experience extreme happiness. So, have you ever experienced moments of extreme happiness? If so, what were they? Let me know.

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