I’ve been writing about our senses and it’s time to pause, to ask ourselves once again, what’s this all about: why am I here and what should I be doing. There are many answers to what seems like a simple enough question. Two off the top: (1) to make myself a better person and (2) to make the world a better place. And after a little thought, it’s easy to see that these are intertwined.
In order to make the world a better place to live it’s imperative that I improve myself so that I can relate to others and help them in their struggles. Indeed, coming up short with others indicates where I need improvement – and we all know that’s a never-ending battle.
And then there’s that adage: all work and no play… If I’m like Oscar the grouch and sit in my personal garbage can banging it around, I will be making a lot of noise and enemies. Time to strategize for when life is getting me down and I want to throw in the towel or heave a rock at the enemy of the moment.
It’s always good to balance things – a plus for a minus, something nice against something ugly, sweet vs bitter. I know I’m not going to win all the battles but I do think I can score a victory most days. I’m going to do what a good friend does and count my “consecutive days of happiness.” I think of this as similar to the signs you may see at construction sites: xx days without an accident. But my happiness will not be by accident.
Stop and consider that we experience things in a moment. Often the moment extends from “just a split second” into minutes or even longer. I’m going to call it a victory if I can score even one moment of happiness in a day. If anyone asks, was I happy yesterday and I can think back to 2:45 the previous afternoon when walking my dog I saw two squirrels quarreling over an acorn and smiled, well then, at that point I was happy. Score one for me – Monday was a happy day. I’m going to accentuate the positive.
Here’s one strategy. I’ll try to make every moment count or at least find one that I can snatch – claim for myself, take a deep breath and look around. Not for nothing did I belabor and write on and on about our senses. I’m going to put them to work for me.
If I stop and breathe – breathing in and out slowly and fully – damn, if at that moment I don’t tell myself it’s great to be alive. I’m happy.
If I’m cooking supper and become aware of the garlic frying on the stove, or out walking and smell freshly cut grass or a backyard barbeque, darned if that’s not nice. I’m happy.
Or I hear a bird chirping or kids bantering, or music on the radio – I’ll smile or snap my fingers. I’m happy.
Need a pick-me-up? A strong cup of coffee or tea. Happy hour – a hoppy beer. Or, excuse me, a burp to remind me of a tasty meal or snack. Happy again!
Look out the window or up at the sky. Pretty clouds, a tree moved by the wind. Enjoy a rosy sunset. Happiness can come in between blinks, the picture was taken when the lids close and open like the shutter on a camera. Happy sights for sore eyes!
Yup. That’s my strategy. A simple pause when I use my senses instead of going about oblivious and senseless to the beauty around me. I take that moment, call in mine, and record that happiness as a victory. Life hasn’t completely gotten away from me. I’ve paused and taken a moment to count my blessings. And then I count the whole day as a day of happiness. And if the day has gotten away from me, sometimes finding even a moment can be a challenge, no problem. I can come up for air tomorrow and start the count over again – Today is Happiness Day 1.
I promised myself when I get to 100 and I’ll party or better yet, go back to # 2 at the beginning and help someone else start their own count. Heck! I can do that right now. Remember – smiles and random acts of kindness.
Ken was a Professor of Mathematics, a ceramicist, a welder, and an IBMer until downsized in 2000. He taught yoga until COVID-19 decided otherwise. He continues writing, living with his wife and beagle in Shorewood, Wisconsin. He enjoys chamber music and mysteries. He’s a homebrewer and runs whitewater rivers. Ken is a writer and his literary works can be found at https://www.kmkbooks.com/