This evening my son Al announced that his motto is going to be “Be happy.” And then I checked email, and found my weekly message from Plinky, suggesting possible topics for blog posts. One was “List 10 things that make you happy.” Since it was Al’s idea that got me started, I decided to ask for his ideas first (I didn’t push him to come up with ten).
- good games
- being tickled
Being tickled would definitely not be on my list. It would be on my list of 10 things I hate. But that’s a list for some other time. Here are my ten ideas, in no particular order except the order I thought of them.
- Learning new things. Today I learned that Maine (specifically, Aroostook County) used to be the nation’s potato capital. (These days they have disputes over whether students should still get three weeks off for the potato harvest.) Potatoes?! I’ve always associated Maine with lobster and blueberries. Curious, I find out that ”about half of Maine’s agricultural income comes from crops and potatoes are the biggest crop.”
- A good cup of coffee. Good, in my definition, means not too strong (or too weak, but my “just right” would probably be too weak for most coffee drinkers), not too hot (or too cool, but again, most people seem to drink it hotter than I do), and with a spoonful of hot chocolate powder for sweetness, and a bit of milk to make it taste just right. I don’t get it right every time, but once in a while it’s perfect.
- A warm spring day. It’s so nice to walk outside and feel the sun warming me, and not have to bundle up against the cold. There’s that warm moist scent of earth, and green growing things appearing, and I can take walks just to enjoy them instead of because Kyra insists.
- A brisk fall day. It’s so nice to walk outside and smell the crisp air, and not be all sweaty. There are colorful leaves, and the crunch of dead leaves, and thoughts of apples and cider, and no more grass to mow for several months.
- Solving a difficult problem. Solving easier problems (but not too easy) is good too, but the more I’ve struggled with the problem, the more satisfying it is to finally come up with the solution. This could be the word I’ve been trying to figure out in a crossword puzzle, the change I need to make in a computer program to make it work properly, or how to write something (such as in a blog post) so that it sounds right.
- Reading a good book. There are lots of books that are moderately entertaining, but only some make me smile while reading them, at a delightful turn of phrase or a remarkable insight or a wonderful bit of humor.
- Shared laughter with friends. There’s something wonderful about being part of a conversation where we laugh together. It’s not just the laughter, which is itself pretty good. Shared laughter means (usually) that people feel comfortable with each other. I feel accepted and included – and as I don’t make friends all that easily and tend to be a loner, I don’t get to feel that way all that much.
- Waking up and not having to get up. Sometimes I wake up, either during the night or early on Saturday morning, and think at first that I need to get up for work. It’s so nice to realize that I can roll over and go back to sleep.
- Hearing good things about my sons. Today we had the annual IEP meeting for Al, and we heard not only how well he’s doing academically, but how his behavior is improving, and how willing he is to take advice and try to do what the teachers and other staff tell him to. Dealing with anything where he’s not sure what to do is always a challenge for him, and therefore for anyone around him, but he wants to improve and that makes a big difference.
- Singing baroque music. Some of the other singers in the Civic Chorale are not happy about having to sing Bach’s “Uns Ist Ein Kind Geboren” in German, but I am happy that we are. (I just wish that the German text were easier to read – the English is on top in normal print, with the German below in italics. Mostly I do OK but occasionally, especially at a page turn, my eye jumps to the wrong line of text.)