I’ve been reading a book my wife gave me called “The Happiness Project“. In it, the author has two things that I’ve thought a lot about.
1) You can decide what you do, but not what makes you happy. I kind of wish I had thought of this a bit earlier in my life. A lot of people have this idea of what a happy person is like. Then, they try to make themselves that person, even if that image is something that will make the person miserable. You need to discover what makes you happy. Not other people.
2) The things that made you happy when you were 10 are probably the same or similar to the things that make you happy now.
10… So, that would be 1987. 5th grade. (I turned 18 1 week after graduation. For my purposes that means you add 5 to the grade to get my age for that school year).
That’s the year my teacher told my parents I would never amount to anything because I couldn’t spell. Ha! Spellcheck mother fucker! Yeah, no resentment harbored there…
Things that made me happy when I was 10:
- Reading. This is the year I discovered Piers Anthony and Xanth. I also was reading Anne McCaffrey. I was on a fantasy kick, though I had previously read Dune and a few other Sci-Fi books. I think this was also around the time I started reading ElfQuest.
- Related to reading was going to the library. I don’t ever remember a time in my life where a library wasn’t part of it. I was always happy exploring the books in a library. Taking my time to pick out my next adventure.
- Learning obscure facts. Even though I hated my teacher, he knew a lot about mushrooms. I spent a lot of time in the class learning about them. I’m still fascinated by them to this day.
- Games. I played a lot of Nintendo, once I got one. Games were… different back then. Super Mario Brothers. Metroid. Zelda. Dragon Warrior. Final Fantasy.
- Exploring. I use to go for a lot of walks by myself. It was something to do living out in the country. Always exciting to think of what was over the next hill.
- TV, Movies. I watched a lot of TV and movies back then. I’m trying to decide if this actually made me happy.
- Music. This is the year I started playing Trombone. I played for 7 1/2 years. I actually feel like I miss music a lot, even though I listen to it all the time.
- My dog. I spent a lot of time with Sadie when I was a kid. We think she was a 3/4 whippet, 1/4 greyhound Great dog and was very patient with me.
- Skiing. This was the first year I got to take skiing lessons. The first day, I put on my skis and went straight to the top of the bunny hill on the rope tow. I then proceeded to fall every 2 feet all the way down the hill. I was about ready to give up, but lessons were starting near where I had last fallen. I’m so glad I stuck with it. There’s just something about coming around a corner on skis into a filed of fresh powder. Stopping and not being able to hear a sound. No people, no animals. Quite. “On down hill skis?” I can hear you saying. Yes, at the place I learned to ski, Sitzmark, there were some side slops that were more like gentle sloping hills. They were not very popular with most people, so they were very popular with me. I’m thinking I should take up cross-country skiing this year…
Some other things I remember making me happy when I was youngish, though not necessarily 10.
- RPG’s. I got my first D&D red boxed set when I was probably 11 or so. I remember opening it up in a Motel room in Wenatchee. My parents went out to dinner and I stayed in the room reading the two books in the box and playing over the single player adventure. Even though I didn’t get to actually play with a group until I was about 19, RPG’s gave me a lot of pleasure as a kid. They helped me exercise my imagination.
- Pretending. I use to spend a lot of time pretending I was a knight/dragon/half-elf/ranger/etc…
- When I was in Biology class and my favorite teacher used me by frustrating me, pissing me off, and making me say “I don’t KNOW why!” to a question about cellular metabolism. Then, turning it around and telling the class that “Yes! Why! That is the most important question! That is what scientists ask, and it is what you should always ask!”
- Talking. My mother says I’m contrary. But really, I like a good debate.