Sunday, March 3, 2013

Day 3: What Makes Me Happy...

It's not Tuesday, but this begs a 10 Things format, so...

1.  Coffee. Sure the taste is wonderful and it's a stimulant and all that, but the ritual of sitting down with a cup of "just right" coffee--whether it be with my email, the news, some grading or a good book--just starts the day off in the proper way.

2.  My students, when they are in the zone. In class, on the pitch, on stage, in real life--seeing them being amazing is the best kind of endorphin. I love them an awful lot and I invest probably more of me into them than is right sometimes, but damn. They do make it worth it!

3.  Time. Time to engage in creative pursuits. Time to engage in quality training for the endurance events I enjoy. Time to learn. Time to explore. Time to read. Time to write. Time to nap. I do a good job of fitting a great deal of good stuff into my days, but when there is so much to do, there really is just never enough time.

4.  My wife. It's difficult to state with words the deep contentment I feel when she and I are in each other's space. We don't have to be doing anything special. We don't even have to be doing the same thing. Just knowing that she's nearby makes me smile on the inside.

5.  Quality relationships. There are so many flavors of this. They're the people who work with you to build and grow a connection that brings happiness to you both. Chosen family are the best, closest example of this, but even the woman at the coop who knows my member number and with whom I chat about co-ed softball is representative of the right idea. We as humans are social beings, but we do not naturally learn how to form good social relationships. There is much about this that must be taught. I'm grateful that I had people to teach it to me; I hope that I'm passing it along well.

6.  Warm. Summertime. Wood stoves. Steaming showers. The heat going full blast in my car. Sunday mornings lying next to my wife. All these are examples of things that make my toes wiggle with contentment.

7.  Music. I don't play a musical instrument (I dabbled in percussion and the harmonica, and there was the recorder in the 5th and 6th grade, but that was it). I don't listen to the radio all that much. Instead, I whistle. I scat. I improvise lyrics and notes. I sing a little, but rarely in public (except to embarrass my children). The thing is, these fill up the vast majority of my waking time. I didn't notice it for many years, but I am always whistling or humming or bebopping to something. I just hope I'm on key!

8.  A good game. SiSi has of late become quite the collector of Magic the Gathering® cards. I showed her the game a couple of years ago, and she's been pretty consistent in her interest since day one. Lately, she and I have been playing pretty regularly--a couple of games is about all we can fit in most days. Every once in a while, we'll have one that is a real chess match. She's reached a level where she's able to think a little ahead strategically. She's sometimes able to anticipate my plays and this makes the game so very exciting. I don't care who wins these. In fact, I love it when she pulls a play from out of nowhere to win unexpectedly--and, more importantly, does it in a way that shows appreciation for the beauty of the game.

Ironically, this is not true for soccer games in which I am coaching. I still very much love the tension of a good, tight contest, but it always bugs me when I'm on the losing end of it. As a player, I'm totally ok with it, but not as a coach. I'm sure there's a psychologist somewhere who knows why this is.

9.  A good ending. It doesn't have to be a happy ending, but if I can predict it halfway through the work, it doesn't qualify. It's been many years since I've read it, but the ending of The Grapes of Wrath (the book, not the movie) still ranks as the best immediate example of what I mean. If you don't know it, please take the time to read the book. Even the chapter with the turtle. You won't be sorry.

10.  When the grillage turns out just right.  I use charcoal, and there is an art to getting food to come out how it should over a fire that, unlike gas, can't simply turned up and down. When the steak melts in your mouth after it comes off the flame, it is a very satisfying thing.

What makes YOU happy?

1 comment:

Mrs. Chili said...

I love you, but the Grapes of Wrath did NOT make me happy. In fact, I still shudder to think of it.