The other week I noticed that there are a lot of people online who seem to poo-poo everything and anything anyone else happens to like. You like pepperoni? NO! Sausage is better. You like the color blue? NO! Red is better! So, I started to think: How often do I slide over to the “hater” side of things?
Reflecting upon that notion, I admitted that there have been occasions where I’ve lapsed on my “live and let live” attitude. Thankfully, I have kept a good deal of my judgements to myself, but moments have occurred when I turned to a friend and pulled what amounts to the opening of Sir-Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back”.
OMG Becky, look at her butt!
Older, wiser, growing less Judgey McJudgerson, I still catch myself making a cutting remark to myself about what someone is wearing or how they carry themselves. Perhaps we are all guilty of that behavior. Perhaps a good many people are unaware of their trip down the Hater Slip ‘n Slide.
And then, there are those who appear to be hell-bent on hating anything and everything, even to the point of contradicting their own likes. These contrarians are a sad affair.
2020 has enough sadness going on, does it not? So I decided to highlight a few things that make me happy, and why they make me happy.
All-encompassing from my backyard and gardens to being out on hikes to sitting on a beach. I love seeing what’s growing. I love seeing the wildlife, from bugs and spiders to snakes and frogs to large mammals. I’ve reached a point where I no longer begrudge the moles tunneling in the yard or the dogwood sawfly larvae eating all the leaves on the dogwoods. Moles gotta do mole things and dogwood sawfly larvae gotta do dogwood sawfly larvae things. Nature is fascinating.
I have a dining table full of sewing paraphernalia at the moment, a standing frame loaded with an embroidery project, art supplies with which to draw and color, and a kitchen full of baking and cooking equipment. I love making things with my hands, useful or otherwise. The act of doing is joyful. Baking and cooking bring me delight and it’s not unusual for me to dance around my kitchen, humming nonsense to myself as I have every burner on the stove going, something in the oven, and the counters crowded. Even if the end result is a flop (it does happen), simply the process of trying that recipe makes me happy.
Music and Books
When it comes to music and books, I will listen to, or read, just about anything. Music was always part of the background growing up and I had great fortune to have a band teacher in middle and high school who encouraged us to listen to a wide variety of music styles. When it comes to books, I used to stick with fiction, but since becoming acquainted with audiobooks, I’ve taken to listening to a lot of non-fiction and I have learned so much! Finding a song I love, listening to or reading a book which teaches me something new, that makes me happy.
Wait, what? Yes, strategy is something in which I find a lot of pleasure. I loved trying to play chess when I was younger, and as I got older, I switched to other strategy games. I love playing simulation computer games and trying to win the games in the various ways one can win them. I enjoy being given a task at my job that has bewildered others because of its complicated nature and to discover the best procedure to complete that task. The “Ah ha!” or “Eureka!” moments are thrilling.
As someone who needs a great deal of alone time, I realize that my enjoying conversation may seem misplaced. Introvert though I am and needing to recharge on my own, a conversation with someone who is good at conversation and who is capable of enjoyable back-and-forth brings me joy. The more engaged and livelier someone is, the better the conversation, the more I will remember it and want to talk to that person again. And yet…
One of the best conversations I’ve had was with my friend’s father who is originally from Slovenia, but also speaks Swedish. When we had the privilege of spending two weeks at their summer home in Croatia, I was up early with Joze, watching the Slovenian news, both of us coffees in hand, and I watched, listening, and not completely understanding what was going on while he glanced over towards me, laughing. I laughed and said, “I don’t know any Slovenian at all.” We clinked coffee cups, had our moment, and continued to watch the Slovenian news as the sun came up to the east over Russia.
While that’s only five things that bring me happiness and joy among so many others, I encourage you to take some time to reflect on that which brings YOU joy and happiness. The moment you feel on the verge of “shitting in someone’s Cheerios”… please stop and ask yourself WHY you need to do so.
And I will leave you with this, one of my favorite images from modeling. The time in 2011 when I got to ride bare-ass naked in a classic Trans-Am.
The Amusing Muse is a writer, blogger, and gardener living in Southern Wisconsin. She has been a architectural drafter, a landscape designer, former model, and a floral designer. She also likes to just watch the bees in the yard.