The Pursuit of Happiness

Lighten Up, Francis!

I was having a bad day. My car was in the shop for the second time in two weeks. In addition to that, those bozos can’t seem to fix it in one day. Even if I drop it off the night before, they don’t start working on it until late afternoon the following day. Maddening. Honestly, if you need a bigger garage, build it! If you need more mechanics, hire them! Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. Stepping down from the soapbox now.

My car fiasco was still running through my head, as I went through my workout at the gym. After I finished, without managing to dropping a barbell on my foot, I headed for my reward for pushing my muscles to their limit. The steam room, jacuzzi, and lazy river in the pool area.

Unless it’s a holiday or summer vacation, it’s usually pretty quiet in there. The water-aerobics instructor is usually the loudest voice, as she puts her class through their paces. However, I kept hearing a loud “Whoop, whoop!” as I made my way to the steam room. At least someone’s having a good time, I thought. 

As I exited my steamy tropical paradise, I discovered the source of the sound. There was a young lady in the water playscape having a blast. The playscape is similar to playground equipment, but with jets of water shooting out from everywhere. It soon became clear that she had special needs. There was another small group of special needs kids nearby as well, who all appeared to be in their teens. They were making their way around the lazy river and having the time of their lives. Sounds of splashing and laughter filled the air.

This scene made me wonder, why don’t I embrace my life with that kind of gusto? Why do I let little things like car repair issues steal my joy? I resolved right then and there to live the rest of my day with that kind of delight. Just for one day, then we’ll see how the rest of the week goes.

My niece Danielle works with Autistic kids, and absolutely loves her job. I applaud her, and anyone who works with people who have special needs. The love and patience required to do that job is not something the average person has in abundance.

Anyway, thanks for the reminder kids. Your peace lies within you. Now, if I can just keep my car out of the damn repair shop! Just breathe.   

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Living Your Life vs Documenting It

The Title Says It All!

In these days of self-obsession, it’s rare to find anyone who’s actually living life and not just documenting it through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. There’s an interesting TV show I’ve been watching called Reverie. The main character is a college professor who teaches her students how to interact with each other and sharpen their observational skills. She says that most young people won’t take their eyes off their phone for half a second, let alone look each other in the eye. Check out any group of young adults. Are any of them actually talking to each other? If they are, do they look each other in the eye? The art of conversation is becoming a Lost Art indeed.

I like to dictate some of these articles while I’m on my morning walk with my dog. I’m a victim of Phone Tunnelvision myself. I just walked into a tree branch full of wet leaves! Yuck! We’ve all seen the videos of people falling into fountains or stumbling down stairs while looking at their phones. If nothing else, they are providing endless hours of entertainment for viewers of YouTube and America’s Funniest Videos. After my interaction with the tree branch, I did a quick look around to see if anyone was watching, shook the water out of my hair, then quickened my pace towards home.

Even though kids these days don’t talk to each other much, they sure take a boatload of pictures (at arm’s length). My old friends Jim and Joe recently joined me at our local minor league ballpark, Jimmy John’s Field. The place has all the ambiance of a small town ballpark, but it’s just a few minutes north of Detroit (and the abysmal Tigers). Since we hadn’t seen each other in a while, I wanted to take a picture to commemorate the evening. I realized the next morning that I had completely forgotten to take the picture. However, we had a few beers and a lot of laughs, so I don’t really need a photo to remember the night. It was a true nostalgic evening. I think we all need more of those and fewer selfies.

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