“There are lots of ways of being miserable, but there is only one way of being comfortable, and that is to stop running around after happiness. If you make up your mind not to be happy there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a fairly good time.” Edith Wharton.
Seems contradictory, doesn’t it? It might be that once we try to answer the question “What makes me happy?” we have automatically limited our chances of being just that.
Perhaps a better question to consider is “What does happiness feel like to me?” We don’t limit our lives then, because we won’t know if happiness is a by-product until we participate in an activity that might have been ignored by the first question.
That is a bit like saying I don’t like toasted ravioli if I have never tried it. I would not mention any kind of pasta when asked what my favorite foods are, but I happen to love toasted ravioli. I missed out often on that tasty dish by automatically dismissing it. Now I prefer to consider the characteristics of foods I enjoy rather than applying labels. I can make that distinction only after I have sampled a dish. My taste buds thank me for the variety, for not limiting their experience to beans, bologna and chocolate ice cream.
Now that I am one of those “girls with grandmother faces” (Francis Weaver authored a book by that title) I am a bit short on time and $$ to try some of the experiences I once dismissed because they were not on my ‘what makes me happy’ list.
There is a remedy to that, though, a sort of fountain of youth. Brain experts say our brains don’t know the difference between actual and virtual experiences. Our thinking minds know, but the brain lights up in the same way for both.
Books give me that gift of time and spare me the debt, too! Reading exercises my brain. Those brain cells automatically work to stretch my attention span, visualize the scenes, experience the action and feel the emotions- just from reading print on a page! Neurons fire whether reading about hopping on a Harley to ride across country or actually doing it! Reading is not my substitute for living, though. It is an extension. My bucket list has no end now.
Live to read! Read to live!