Sunday, November 23, 2008

My Happy Place

Catching up on blogs this morning I found that I’ve been tagged by Anne from Run DMZ. I thank you, Anne, for choosing my blog as “Kreativ”. I usually mull these things over for awhile and never quite get to them. I think I still owe someone the list of 6 random things. I decided to give this one some thought right away and commit it to paper.

I found it kind of ironic that I had been chosen to list six things that make me happy and to pass it along to six others. I used to consider myself to be a pretty happy go lucky guy but lately I’ve become more of a grumpy old man. I could easily think of things that make me unhappy, I was going to have to dig a little deeper right now to recall those things that do make me happy.

A couple of years ago I took a new position at work that requires much inter-departmental interaction and government regulation and oversight to get done. I find navigating all the red tape very frustrating. It seems as though no one really wants the position but they all want to tell you how to do it. Our youngest son has decided to take a path in life that is contrary to many of the things we tried to impress upon him in his youth. While we are not super rich, we have been able to provide our sons with certain advantages that the youngest one has seemed to squander away. Most recently he totaled a car we’d only made two payments on within days of getting a speeding ticket. Just recently I made the decision to leave a small group Bible study we’ve belonged to for four years after enduring one too many discussions that spiraled into hard headed non-negotiables. Then there have been layoffs and the threat of layoffs, my stress fracture, the huge losses in my 401k, the election, the whole economic mess, ad infinitum. Needless to say I haven’t been dealing well.

Before I get any further into this downward spiral I will change gears. I do realize that I have much to be thankful for and probably just need and deserve a swift kick in the pants to get moving again. Now on to the list:

Six things that make me HAPPY

1. My wife and I together. Through everything else she’s the one constant. She takes care of all the stuff I don’t/won’t/can’t. She is my biggest supporter and fan. Besides that we take really cute pictures together. I have them hanging in my cube at work and can’t help but smile when I look at them.

2. Seeing my kids succeed. They sometimes fail but when they pick themselves up and make wise decisions for themselves it is satisfying. They sometimes surprise me with their acts of generosity and brilliance.

3. Worship music. I love music in general but it is very difficult to be anything but happy when listening to and belting out my favorite church songs, old and new.

4. Comfort food. There’s just something about a plate of meat loaf and mash potatoes, a bowl of chili, Italian escarole soup, hot chocolate, chocolate chip cookies, even a good PB&J. The list is long. Nothing beats hearty soul satisfying food.

5. Natural beauty. I love to be outside taking in the grandeur of the landscape and the details of a leaf, a flower, or a rock. I enjoy a warm sunny day and a cool cloudy day equally.

6. Running. Of course. Running is my “me time”, my time away from all the other concerns. It also encompasses all the other things on the list. Running and the pursuit of 50 states marathons has allowed Lisa and I to get away and share some great times together exploring this nation of ours. I’ve gotten to share runs with each of my boys. Although I’ve only recently added the ipod to my runs, a song is almost always running through my head as I pound the road or the trail. As for food, comfort food, isn’t that 99% of the reason to run. Everything tastes better after a long run. And lastly running gets me out there in the middle of shoulder high mustard plants, bunnies, hawks, turkey vultures, autumn leaves, the smell of eucalyptus trees, cloudless skies, foggy skies, rolling hills, mud, live oak groves, sand and ocean waves and so much more.

Thank you Anne for giving me the opportunity to search out the happy thoughts. If you haven’t been tagged already, feel free to take the opportunity to explore your soul and create your list of happy thoughts.


robtherunner said...

I agree about the ease of naming a dozen things that make me unhappy. I have been a bit grumpy myself lately, for different reasons. I can concur with just about everything on the list except the part about taking cute pictures. I do not have a knack for taking a good photo with anyone.

Sarah said...

In trying times, it's good to put it down in writing to realize how much we have to be happy about. : )

angie's pink fuzzy said...

this post made me smile. you listed all the overwhelming negative things AND chose to look at the positive things as well :)

Joe said...

Great post, Darrell. Yeah, life throws some tough things... none of us are immune.

And there is great joy in substantive things you list.

I do think running is a common "plus" for us. For many of the same reasons you list. The rhythm, the consistency, the chance to be outside, the time to reflect...all add perspective to the perplexing matters facing us.


Nick said...

That's awesome you have recognized that downward spiral. Some people don't until it's too late.

Maybe I need to be making my own list.

Lisa said...

we are awfully cute, aren't we? make me laugh.

Anonymous said...

Sorry you've had some tough times lately. At least you have running right now! :) As for those cute pictures of you and your wife. . . I think you should post one!

Neese said...

aw :)

Burger said...

Good stuff Darrell. Except 'running' is a little too far down the list in my humble opinion!

Donald said...

Sounds like this list came along at the right time for you, Darrell. It's always good to remind ourselves of the good things.

Wes said...

You have some of the same joys errrrr... challenges that we all face :-) I've always felt like I needed to give my kids all the things they needed to succeed. The rest was up to them.

I loved this post Darrell. Those things that make us happy, we cling to them with an iron fist!

Backofpack said...

Sorry to hear things have been rough. I think we all face some of those challenges, however, we don't blog about them. I don't know about you, but I don't blog about them out of respect for the others involved. Regardless, you came up with a great list of happy things, and sometimes that's all we need to remind us.

One suggestion I have that I have used before. At the end of each day, write down five things that you are grateful for from that day. Sometimes it ends up being the same things every night, but it hammers home the idea that we do have much to be thankful for. And, it sends you to sleep in a positive frame of mind.

Anonymous said...

That's a great list Darrell! What are some of your favorite worship songs?

Hope to see you around soon. You running or coming out to Twin Peaks in Dec or Feb??

Anne said...

I had the same initial reaction as you did, and for many of the same reasons. It's just a tough time to muster up a lot of sweetness when the world seems to be turning more sour by the hour. Thanks for doing this. I kinda hoped for the reaction you gave.

Joyce said...

Sometimes we just get so overwhelmed with all that's bad in our lives we forget what's good. Thanks for writing this. :)