Feel Great

What Makes You Happy? Part 1

by Lauren Teng, blogger

Blogger Lauren Teng is on a mission this semester to find out what makes YOU happy.

I don’t know about you but on a daily basis my inner dialogue is pretty prone to complaints and pep talks. “I don’t want to do this,”  “You don’t have a choice,” “It’d be so great to not have to do this,” “YOU DON’T HAVE A CHOICE, check that attitude girlfriend,” “IS MY WHOLE LIFE GOING TO BE DOING THINGS THAT I DON’T WANT TO DO??” “Well…it’ll probably be a lot of that.”

In other words– just like it’s easy to be organized and good-natured when things are going according to plan, it’s easy to be happy and light spirited when what you’re doing is exactly what you want to be doing.  But with the exception of having no schoolwork over winter break or getting a glorious weekend off of work to sleep in, lounge about and get some work done at a leisurely pace, usually it feels like there are tons of things to do, in all directions and at the same time for the entire foreseeable future. So the task is how to not be grumpy mcgrumpster 10 hours into the day when all you’d like to do is sit down somewhere, shut off your brain eat a sandwich, and not have to do anything the rest of the night.

Which brings me to the question: “What makes you happy?”

“Happy” is one of those words that, if you think about or say it for too long it starts to morph.  It warps into a distortion of sounds, odd to the ear, weird to say, and hard to believe it carries the weight of an inalienable American right.

Family, health, dedication, passion, and gratitude—these are all things I think of when attempting to lock down serious happiness. But sometimes in the throws of the minutia of the day, in the whirlwind of deadlines, meetings, and hoping your cheeks don’t peel off from the cold as you make a 25 minute trek home from campus…having someone say or even attempting to say to yourself “stop and smell the roses” may instigate an urge to sucker punch the knee caps of a phrase that is true and important but can be painfully patronizing at times.

This is where not the roses come in but the crazy squirrels we used to see chasing after each other when campus wasn’t covered in snow.  It’s egg roll night in the dining hall, it’s the youtube video of bizarre kid in glasses singing to his web cam like his life depended on it—this is where all the tiny almost tangible things come into play. Because to be completely honest, there is no real way I’m going to enjoy writing my essay due tomorrow, but I can enjoy and appreciate my table in the basement of Hendricks, my cup of coffee, the sweet tunes wafting over from People’s Place with the smell of toasted bagels and the sight of the cute indie couple sitting 10 feet away.  These things, right now, are making me happy.

What about you? Where are you now, and what’s adding a little warmth and light to your life at the moment?


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