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Oldie, 3/3/09: Happy Six

My friend Michele has challenged me to share 6 things that make me happy. This isn't terribly difficult -- last month the subject of happiness was everywhere. The church I attend had a 3-part series, and another online venue that I frequent had a similar challenge. That one was to describe one thing that makes you happy for eight days in a row and tag 8 others. This is a scaled-down version.

My Sextet of Happiness, in no particular order:

1. My family. This is actually one of those "subset A/subset B" types of things, since we are not the most cohesive unit. But while my son and husband occupy separate and distant galaxies in my universe, I catch myself "lighting up" at an unexpected encounter with either. They have both given me support, nurturance, inspiration and purpose in my life.

2. Writing. I don't draw (or even doodle), paint, craft, sculpt or compose; all my pictures and tangible concepts involve the English language on a page. If I ever stop scribbling, someone had better take my pulse. I'd generally rather write than eat.

3. Freedom. You know it when you've got it, and when you haven't. I suspect this a more common and universal state for humanity than many of us realize. Is it possible to be happy when you lack freedom (however you may define it)? And conversely, is it possible to be completely miserable when you own a sense of control over your circumstances? Freedom can be as "macro" as the right to assemble or express an opinion, and as "micro" as the ability to swivel your desk chair in a circle without banging your knee on something.

4. Laughter. Sometimes it's absurd physical comedy (admit it, at some time or other, Chris Farley doing the Chippendales can and will make you smile, however briefly), scathing social commentary a la George Carlin, or a simple, unintended Spoonerism. I'll take 'em all. I'll even take the ones where somebody peers at me disapprovingly over the tops of their eyeglasses and says "That's not funny at all." You're right, it's not. But for a second or two, in another dimension, it was.

5. Intelligence. I don't mean the ability to perform quadratic equations from memory or even to articulate the origins of life in the universe. Intelligence, for me, is when reason prevails, especially when people reach out to each other, think beyond their own self-interest and make something happen that keeps things moving forward and brings hope for the future. The Innocence Project is just one example.

6. Music. Goes with laughter and writing. Life would be meaningless and empty without any of those.

There are too many of you out there to limit a tag to 6, so consider the question of what makes you happy and post something.

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