Some of you have mentioned that you may begin posting a Curiosity Journal, as well. Monica started up her Curiosity Journals last week, so if she publishes one today, I’ll send you over.
Reading: The Day I Became an Autodidact: and the advice, adventures, and acrimonies that befell me thereafter, by Kendall Hailey, is totally distracting me from all other titles.
Playing: Since I’m a miserable failure at playing games, I’ll show you the next-closest thing to play, and it involves my new best friend.
Remember how Tom Hanks’ character in “Castaway” had his friend Wilson?
Well, I have “Dunlop.” (I have yet to draw a face.)
Because I’ve categorized this under “Playing,” You might assume that I’ve taken Dunlop along to the neighborhood tennis courts to thwack him over the net.
You would be mistaken.
He’s playing a much more vital role in my life.
You see, I discovered the joys of using a tennis ball for back massage. I poked around some videos and instructional websites that encourage people to give it a go and thought, “This could be fun to try.”
Digging through some old boxes in the garage, I turned up Dunlop. And now, having tested his potential as a personal massage therapist, I am urging everyone to befriend a tennis ball.
Learning: I figured out how to get some “share” buttons on my blog using a WordPress.org plug-in. It automatically provided an RSS feed gizmo on the right that says “Follow” and stays visible as you scroll down the page. Not sure if I like that or not, but I was happy to learn how to get something installed. Now you can tell me if it’s easy to share this post with a simple click on the appropriate icon (all are displayed at the bottom of each post).
Reacting: Thursday night, Charity and I attended a lecture on Design and Happiness by Stefan Sagmeister held at the Art Museum. If you’re curious, take a minute to read Charity’s marvelous description of the evening. And this TED lecture has some of the same content, though the lecture we attended was much longer. And, if I might say so without bragging, as an audience we were much livelier than the TED audience (in spite of having waited two hours for Sagmeister to arrive).
Sagmeister is making a short documentary film about happiness, using himself as a guinea pig to test various theories on what can increase a person’s happiness and well being.
On Sunday, when we were with my parents and brother for Father’s Day, I told everyone Sagmeister’s statement that one simple and rather obvious way to increase happiness is to do more of the things that you like to do and fewer of the things that you don’t. So he made a list of things he likes to do, most of which were related to his work as a designer and artist.
I asked the others what would be on their lists. As everyone sat in thought for a moment, I turned to my dad and asked, “Well, since it’s Father’s Day, why don’t we start with you, Dad. What makes you happy?”
He cleared his throat and responded, “Well, I suppose it would be the same as what Winston Churchill said, that his idea of a good dinner would be to first have good food, then discuss good food, and then to discuss an interesting topic…with myself,” and here my dad pointed to himself, tapping his chest, “as chief conversationalist.”
Happiness for my dad, you see, is to be heard. As it turned out, he went on to introduce a variety of topics he was interested in and without a doubt, served as chief conversationalist. I gave him a book as a Father’s Day gift that may or may not make him happy; but as it turned out, we provided far more happiness than a physical gift could offer, simply by listening.
The next day, I was browsing the New Books section of the library and came across The Happiness Project, in keeping with the theme of the week. I checked it out and brought it home, but haven’t cracked it open yet because of the autodidact book.
Speaking of which, I was reading another chapter in The Day I Became an Autodidact, wherein Kendall’s Uncle Thomas, who is confined to a wheelchair, has a health scare. They almost lose him—he even undergoes brain surgery—but he makes it through and is able to return home. She writes:
It is 5:16 A.M. and I’ve just checked on Thomas and Puli [the dog]. Thomas is home and they’re back together–pretty cruel to make a man who just had brain surgery sleep with such a neurotic dog, but they’d missed each other.
I left them both sleeping soundly, which is what I now plan to do. I tend to check every hour through the night and Nanny will be up in about forty-five minutes. No one has told us to check so often, or that there’s any need to at all, but when you know where your happiness is, it does seem foolish not to check on it every once in a while. (Hailey 131)
When you know where your happiness is…check on it every once in a while.Where’s your happiness?
Writing: The stories I tell while filling these Curiosity Journal categories could be divided into several posts and published over several days. I wonder sometimes if I should spread stuff out. Of course, then you might not look forward to Wednesdays as much.