What Makes Me Happy

Over the past few months I’ve found myself reading biographies on people that lived well before modern times. One of the things that struck me as particularly interesting was the way writers went about gathering information on their subjects. There were no TV interviews to watch, no documents left behind on the internet, and no living relatives to interview. The best way to learn about the subjects was through the letters they left behind.

Because fame is right around the corner for me and biographies on my life will be in great demand 100 years from now, I thought that leaving behind a trail of letters (digital though they may be) sounded like a great idea. In my opinion, letters are the most illuminating form of communication we have and the idea of experimenting with that was too intriguing to pass over. My younger sister, Lauren, will be participating in an ongoing letter share with me. Where it goes and what we learn about one another I have no idea. Follow along and find out with us.

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Lauren,

I’m sorry you’re sad but it’s nice to know that you’re finding ways to cope with everything. Looking at the bright side is hard but it seems like it comes naturally to you. I can remember times in the past when I’d text you with one of my gripes and you’d find the silver lining. It would sometimes piss me off in the moment if all I wanted to do was complain, but your outlook always served me well later on down the line. Never lose that way about you.

You mentioned the saying about “choosing to be happy” having some truth. I disagree but I’m only saying so because I don’t want you to feel like something is wrong with you if you’re having tough days down the road. Happiness isn’t the choice you’re making. You’re deciding not let sadness have power over you. And that’s a good thing because fighting back is what gives you the opportunity to have room for good feelings. It’s kind of like having a sump pump in the basement. You might not want water invading your house but sometimes you don’t have a choice because of where your property is located. The pump keeps on collecting the water and spitting it back outside despite the fact that more water will always return. It kind of sucks but at least in the meantime you can walk around the basement without 3 inches of water under your feet. That’s just my take on that saying but I agree with you in essence. You have to give yourself a chance to feel good and you are.

You asked what makes me happy. That seems like something I should think of on my own more often so I’m glad you cared to inquire. Writing makes me happy. It give me a chance to put my thoughts in chronological order instead of sitting in my brain in a giant knot all the time. I love to read and it almost doesn’t matter the genre. When I’m reading I usually have 3 books I hop back and forth between so that I don’t get bogged down if one of them is boring.  I’ll keep one upstairs by the bed, one downstairs by the TV, and one in my laptop bag so that I can read during lunch at work. I feel like it’s my duty to learn as much as I can about life while I’m here and since I can’t experience everything firsthand I find books to be the best alternative. Traveling makes me very happy. Similar to the book thing I just want to understand and experience things and travel is another great way to do that. Going to Europe was like a drug. I loved the feeling I got when we landed in Germany and I heard nary a word of English being spoken. It scared me but it forced me out of my comfort zone. To be so vulnerable that you have to depend on the good nature of someone else to help you get around was humbling and I loved that. That experience should be a mandatory adult life lesson we all go through. I’m happy when Deana is eager to share in my interests. Whether it’s going to the symphony, art museums, or breweries it’s really nice to have someone who wants to be with you. I love thinking about our Christmas’ as kids. I relive those moments all through December.  Probably the most pure form of happiness I feel nowadays is when I’m laughing with our family. It truly fills me up and I can physically feel the blah get pushed out of my body for a minute. But laughing with Emma is the best. Her soul is absolutely pure. Being around her reminds me of myself when I was kid and I would say anything that came to my head hoping it would make someone laugh. She loves to see people happy and I love being on the same wavelength with her. One day soon I’m going to write all about her. I’ve been saying that for about three or four years now but I’m pretty sure I mean it this time.

Here’s a little philosophical question on happiness. I think we know what it is to feel happy, but what is it to be happy. Does that mean you feel happy at least 51% of the time? Does it mean that most of the time you’re neutral but when you get pulled towards one of the end spectrum you end up closer to happiness rather than sadness more often than not? I’ll get it into it more later, but I don’t think I always know what it means to be happy. I’m usually just trying to find ways not to be sad more than to be happy and I’m not sure if that’s normal or not. Anyway, I’ll be interested to read your thoughts.

Hang in there,

Douglas

 

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