The other day, The Naked Redhead nominated me for a “Happy 101 Award” because she thought it was “hilarious to do so”. This is kind of like a blogger chain-email thingamabob (I think). TNR was nominated by Alex over at The Tell Tale Blog, and I was named in her post. I think pingbacks are supposed to be involved here, but who knows whose are disabled and whose aren’t?
Anyway, here are the rules of engagement:
List 10 things that make you happy. Do at least one of them today. Tag 5 bloggers that brighten your day.
For those bloggers who get the award, you then link back to my blog and create your makes you happy list.
So needless to say I’m pretty honored that TNR named me in her post; it’s nice to be among such fine company. I won’t mention that I’m so far the only dude I’ve seen in this love-train. Ok, so it looks like I did just mention that. Whatever. Somebody’s got to represent the Y chromosome. “Represent, reprezent-zent”, as they say in A Tribe Called Quest.
I made my list on the way to work today. And thanks to my AyePhone, I was able to store it in my notes, instead of wrestling with pen and paper while driving. Here’s what I came up with – and these are in no particular order:
- Sunny Days
- Strong Coffee
- A Sense of Accomplishment
- A Solid Beat
- Friendship/Unconditional Love
- Living Alone
- Paying Bills
- Feng shui
Yes, I can count, and I know that’s not ten things. But whatever: I was brainstorming.
As I was going through this exercise, my thoughts turned to the nature of happiness. What makes me happy? Does money make me happy? The things that money can buy me? I don’t think so. I think that material things in general kind of need to be excluded from the list. For me, that is. Because I’m a philosopher and a wordsmith and pretty anal about definitions. And, in that spirit, for the purposes of this post, I will define something that “makes me happy” as “makes me feel good”.
So what’s happiness? Happiness for me comes in two flavors: overall and the short burst/realization kind. Most of the things on the list above are basically of the latter kind – having them, being around them, or just knowing or becoming aware that they’re near is enough to create a feeling of happiness. The overall happiness thing is a bit more slippery and tough to nail down. Which is why I don’t think I’m going to get into it right now. I’m not sure that – overall – I’m happy right now. Nor am I sure that I’m not. Maybe I’ll explore this subject another time.
This isn’t meant to be quite as heavy as I’m making it, but wtf, I’ve been having trouble uploading pictures, so I can’t post brightly-colored pics of flowers, red lipstick and nipples.
Anyway, here’s a crack at distilling the above into ten specific items, and thereby coming into conformity with the whole point of the fun:
1. Sunny days are awesome. They make waking up easy and I dig wearing my new shades. Whatever it is about the sunlight hitting my retina, I’m a fan. I don’t care if it’s cold or hot or sticky or what-have-you: if it’s sunny out, chances are I’m happy.
2. Hiking was an easy one – but when I spent some time thinking about it, hiking doesn’t really make me “happy”. I don’t go hiking for the sheer joy of it. I like the sense of accomplishment I get from peakbagging. Oh, the exercise is certainly good for me and leads to a wonderful combination of physical exhaustion and balance among my brain chemicals (and waves), but these are – again – of the short-term variety of happiness. They are also, however, in my opinion, components of the “overall” type of happiness. And since we’re talking about visceral things here, I’m going to go right ahead and lump boobs into this one, because they bring me a very visceral kind of happiness as well. Or maybe I should just say the female form in general. Mmmm.
3. Tools make me happy. Having the right ones for the job, etc. My AyePhone, netbook, cordless drill, leatherman, hiking gear, and so on. All these things give me a sense of being prepared, and they’re a joy to apply to the proper situation.
4. Driving makes me happy. Specifically, driving my stick-shift Mini Cooper between 60 and 90 miles per hour in moderate traffic. Driving your car doesn’t make me happy. I suppose this has something to do with a sense of being in control, but I don’t much feel like shrinking my own head on this one right now. Oh, and strong coffee and cigarettes are a wonderful addition to driving.
5. A solid beat makes me happy. It never fails. Preferably one seen and felt in a live environment. Recordings are great, but actually watching an artist lay down a solid beat – whether on the drums, cello, bass or whatever – gives me a sense of participation. In such an environment, I find it hard not to dance.
6. I know I already mentioned a sense of accomplishment above, but I think it deserves its own number. In fact, that number should probably be 1. Pretty much everything that makes me happy (or “feel good”) in some way or another involves the production of a sense of accomplishment within me. It’s definitely the #1 reason why I’m always so busy, and probably the main motivation behind just about everything I do.
7. Yoga and meditation can go together because they’re inherently related. Quieting my mind on a regular basis is another aspect of the elusive “overall” flavor of happiness. And definitely something that I need more of right now. Feng shui is also connected to this, because #7 here is as much about energy flow as anything else.
8. My sister Katie makes me happy. I know I’m better in small doses, which means that my doses of Katie end up being reciprocal, but that’s ok. Reciprocal’s not the right word, but I hope you’re picking up what I’m putting down.
9. Friendship and unconditional love make me happy. Again, I think these are also components of the “overall” flavor that I’m missing in my life right now. I don’t have very many friends – which is entirely a personal choice at this stage in my life, and I’m ok with that. As much as I’d like to substitute a pretty girl’s head on my chest for Laila Jo’s furry-engine-purring when I (finally) go to bed at night, living alone is also something that makes me happy. Not having to clean up after someone else and the resultant (relative) ease of maintaining my home’s feng shui are interrelated aspects of this. While I haven’t actively severed ties with most of my recent friends, I haven’t done much in the way of maintaining the bridges between us. Too many people have given me the impression that I’m really only good for whatever I can do for them, and that doesn’t make me happy. I prefer the friendships that are based upon unconditional love – the ones where you’re buddies and that’s pretty much it, you know? No strings, no quid pro quo.
10. Reading and writing make me happy. Both are kind of an escapist thing for me, but whatever. I like reading fictions and writing facts. Writing is cathartic for me, and reading is good for my imagination, which makes me more productive. So does chess, but this post is long enough.
So that’s it. Ten things. Today, I spent some time reading, writing (in the comfortable feng shui of my apartment), and driving (fast, in moderate traffic, while drinking strong coffee and smoking cigarettes, listening to music with a solid beat). I thought about calling Katie, but figured that was precluded under the “small doses” rule, given our interaction on facebook today. I’m not even going to get into my usage of tools.
I’ll now do my best to tag five bloggers that make me happy:
Lauren Flax of the blog of the same title
Didi at Vodka Fuelled Diatribes
Sabrina at The Sabs.com
Samiantha at Being Samiantha
Jon Barker (aka “Barker Fett”) at JonMTM: A Private Lyricist
I can’t believe I was able to come up with five bloggers that quicly and easily. What up, tribe.