International Day of Happiness – The Truth Behind Happy

Denver, Colorado: Happy Cones Co Celebrates International Day of Happiness March 20th

Happy Cones founder Hap Cameron talks happiness, mental health, and why his Denver Ice Cream Shop is so passionate about International Day of Happiness.

Est. Read Time 3-5 minutes


The truth is, happiness hasn’t always been easy for me. 

My real name is Mark Cameron, but everybody knows me as “Hap”. I was given the nickname “Happy” as a baby, and most people who meet me now think it must have been because I was happy all the time. But actually, my dad gave me the nickname because I always cried. In his words, I was a “grizzly little bugger”. The name “hap” stuck, along with the irony.

I have dealt with depression on and off throughout my life. The first time the dark clouds loomed over me was during my 20’s. I was on my personal endeavor to live and work in every continent of the world before the age of 30. 

As I was approaching the end of my international journey, I couldn’t grasp what was next for me. Who was I if I wasn’t Hap Working the World? 

I was completely and utterly lost. 

When I traveled back home to New Zealand, my depression really took hold. Getting out of bed in the morning felt like climbing Everest. Making the simplest of decisions of whether I’d have jam or honey on my toast was crippling. The act of walking into a cafe and asking for a job was unthinkable. The previous year I survived an encounter with some of Africa’s most dangerous criminals, summited Kilimanjaro, and set up a bike shop in Namibia, and yet now I couldn’t even get myself out of bed. What was happening?

Outwardly my life looked like one big adventure. I had worked 32 jobs on the world’s seven continents, I had a book publishing contract, I was directing a documentary on this “amazing” 9 year adventure, but inside I felt heavy, dark, lost. 

What was next for me? 

(See: Nelson Mail Profile- High Peaks and Deep Valleys)

I eventually recognized it for what it was. I sought help for depression, and was fortunate to have resources available to me. I worked through counseling and antidepressants until, eventually, I was able to see the light again.

Anyone who has had an intimate experience with depression can tell you how differently it forces you to look at happiness. Happiness isn’t a destination that you magically arrive at one day, but rather a constant journey through high peaks and deep valleys. Happiness can be more elusive for some people than others, and it isn’t something that can be taken for granted.

There’s no doubt that my journey around the world helped shape me into who I am today. But it was through my experience with depression that I discovered my real purpose. 

It surprises most people to learn that a beautiful country like New Zealand actually has one of the highest teen suicide rates per capita in the world. As I found my own way back into the sunshine, I wanted to give back in some way. I wanted to share my experiences in the hopes that maybe I could give a struggling teen a different perspective. This is when I began working as a high school motivational speaker, and found that in helping others, I was also helping myself.

Hap with "Everyone Leaves Happier" Sign in Edgewater Happy Cones Co ice cream shop

There are many reasons why I wanted to start an ice cream business in Colorado, but the reason I chose to name it “Happy Cones” is about more than a namesake. All of you who have been by the truck or stopped by the shop have probably seen the phrase ”everyone leaves happier”. This is my mission with Happy Cones. I want to share a little piece of joy, and I want everyone to feel a little lighter when they leave. Yes, I’m passionate about New Zealand Style Ice Cream, but I am on a bigger mission, and Happy Cones is my vehicle.

International Day of Happiness was created by the United Nations in 2013 as a way to recognize the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world. Coincidentally, it falls on the first day of Spring, which is the unofficial start of Ice Cream Season! What better day to celebrate our mission of “everyone leaves happier”?

Happy Cones Co International Day of Happiness Denver 2020 poster

Join us on Friday March 20th at our shop in Edgewater Public Market. We will be releasing two limited edition ice cream flavors and donating 100% of proceeds from these specialty scoops to the Mental Health Center of Denver – Emerson Street for Teens and Young Adults*

So, there it is. The truth behind Happy. 

With love and ice cream,

Hap

*From the Mental Health Center of Denver’s website: “Emerson St. provides a supportive community for teens and young adults, ages 15 – 26, seeking connection and belonging. This inclusive, welcoming place offers a variety of activities and services that support young people in enhancing their mental health and overall well-being.”