by Lillian Csernica on May 14, 2013
Day 14: Ten things that make you really happy
I considered organizing this list in order of importance, but that feels a little too left-brained. The very impulse to prioritize what makes me happy suggests a certain rigidity of thinking. Different things make me happy in different ways and at different times. One of the many benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is learning how to reframe situations, to develop flexibility in one’s thinking and perceptions. So! Here’s my Happy List, in no particular order:
Ice cream. At the moment my favorite flavor is Ben & Jerry’s Karamel Sutra, but I’ll take any good chocolate, Neapolitan, spumoni, or seasonal flavors such as eggnog.
Kittens. Love those little tiny paws, the itty bitty fangs, and the way they can doze off in a sitting position and just topple over.
Writing success. Selling a short story, pushing through a rewrite, looking over an old piece of writing and now having the knowledge to make it what it could be…. And then there’s that feeling summed up by Dorothy Parker‘s comment, “I hate to write but I love having written.” The actual labor can be a real pain, but oh the pleasure of knowing I’ve churned out another two thousand words!
Finding just the right gift for someone and seeing that person surprised and happy.
Getting mail. I’m talking about greeting cards and handwritten notes and Christmas newsletters and graduation invitations and birth announcements. I love the physical act of writing. Choosing a favorite pen and going through my stationery wardrobe for just the right notecard or paper so I can write to someone is an old-fashioned pleasure that I hope never goes out of style.
Peace and quiet. I tend to stay up late. I’m a night owl by nature. Given that I grew up as a de facto only child, I’m used to being alone and there are times when I really prefer it.
Sleeping late. Need I say more?
Really bad sword & sorcery movies. Remember Miles O’Keefe, star of the “Tarzan” movie with Bo Derek as Jane? Miles went on to star in a few of the worst sword & sorcery movies ever made, featuring the main character known as Ator. Then there’s “Hawk the Slayer,” with its really terrible leading man and some of the most pathetic attempts at special effects I’ve ever witnessed. Green Silly String as magic? Last but not least, any time I need some serious belly laughs, I watch any of the “Deathstalker” movies.
Knowing my mother is proud of me. When I sold SHIP OF DREAMS, Mom gave me a fully constructed model of an actual brigantine, which is the pirate ship and key setting of my novel. I promptly got some plastic pirate figures from the party store and put them all over the deck and in the rigging! That’s a big example. All through my life my mother has given me cards and gifts both large and small as tokens of her pride. She’s the one who got me addicted to collecting unusual bookmarks. When I was eight years old and decided I wanted to be a writer, I told my mother I would dedicate my first novel to her. The day I gave her a fresh new copy of my novel and watched her face as she read the dedication page will remain one of the happiest days of my life.
My sons. I love my boys. Every accomplishment, every victory, even the tiniest sign of progress, is a source of joy to me. The other day we were talking about how Michael needed a hair cut. He said, “Barber.” You have no idea how huge a moment that was! For Michael to enunciate a new word clearly enough for us to understand him is a real triumph. And then there’s John, who argues about his homework and struggles with some Social Studies projects and still made the Honor Roll again. My boys are fighters. My boys are winners.
Please, tell me what makes you happy. I take great pleasure in other people’s joy.
- 9 ’80s Sword-and-Sorcery Flicks that Need Modern TV Series (musingsofamildmanneredman.com)