My family started 2019 at a 75th wedding anniversary party for family friends Errol and Kathleen. Ninety-three-year-old Errol was asked what was his secret for such a long and happy marriage. Errol answered, “Just two words. Yes, and ok.”
Errol and Kathleen started life together as starry-eyed, young lovers wanting nothing more than to live happily ever after. With the second world war another year from finishing and Errol enlisted, they didn’t want to miss any chance to live in happiness.
At eighteen years of age Errolbelieved he would be truly happy with life if Kathleen was his wife, the war ended and the world was at peace. He hoped for a family,a home and a joband didn’t think he needed much more to make him happy.
Errol’s philosophy of “yes and ok”stopped the squabbles and the waste-of-time human conflicts.He said no one ever won a fight anyway. It removed his own self-doubt and helped him achieve.“Yes” told him he could do things.“OK” helped him take chances. Whenever they faced life’s challenges, and there were plenty, it was the quest for happiness that saw them get through.
Errol and Kathleen both said they felt blessed to have lived long lives. They marvelled at all the beauty and wonder that came into their homes, the growth of ideasand opportunity and the benefits of modern living.They were happy to be living in a land of freedom and plenty. They both thought that in 2019 there was never a better time or reason to be happy.
I learnt the power of “yes and ok” many years ago from my son, Tim.
At age three Tim was diagnosed with autism so severe I was told to institutionalise him. I was told he would never speak, learn anything nor lead a fulfilling life. Tim’s days were spent unable to communicate and distressed all the time. But I didn’t listen to the doctor, I said “yes” he will speak and he does. I alsosaid “yes” he will live a fulfilling life and he does.
Years ago, when asked to draw a picture for a homemade birthday card Tim said “ok” and that simple ok led him to become an internationally acclaimed artist with books, a tv series,a theatre production and worldwide travel. His keynote talks always end with a standing ovation. He lives in happiness because he said yes and ok.
In 2019 happiness is as important and desired as it wasfor Errol seventy-five years ago. As the hottest commodity of the year it can begin withtwo simple words “yes” and “ok”. Everyone should try it.