Pictured above: Children too grown to be mine, too beautiful for words, and so awesome for accidentally matching on the first day of freshman, fourth grade, and sophomore year, respectively. After this picture, we piled into the car and listened to only happy songs all the way to school.
My usual playlist in the car tends sort of melancholy. Well, that, and it tends extremely glee club. John Michael occasionally gets excited about the Journey song that begins, until he realizes I have yet again chosen the Glee version of a song that was much better the other way. We differ on this. But, the list also tends melancholy, and that is because I take myself way too seriously. I also take life too seriously, and parenting, and trying to become what I want to be when I grow up. This kind of seriousness calls for slow songs with searching themes, love songs, “someday” kind of songs.
Lately, this wasn’t striking the proper mood. I’ve been studying (in the casual book- and blog-reading sort of way) happiness, and it’s the central theme for my current writing project. I know, and I’m writing about, the process of happiness and how the real thing doesn’t happen in the moment but as the result of a life well and intentionally lived. But I still believe in finding ways to flippin’ get through Monday, and that’s a whole different happiness altogether. I don’t have time from the office to home over my lunch hour to work all the way through the emotions of a “someday” kind of song. I do have time to sing, “This is my fight song” at the top of my lungs or to clap along / if I feel / like a room without a roof.
Basically, I happified my playlist. Only happy songs get to stay. If a song comes on that doesn’t immediately make me want to dance, or roar, it goes. At first, I clung to a few melancholy tunes that have happy lyrics, but Jake wouldn’t allow it. “I thought you only had happy songs on here?” he said when Gold in Them Hills came on. “It is happy,” I told him. It plays during the scene in About Time when he lives the day over again and discovers, “I know it doesn’t seem that way, but maybe it’s the perfect day.” It’s all about how a day might seem bad but it’s really not. And Jake said, “Yeah, but the music is not happy.” And I had to agree with him. It’s like Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas only for every other day in the year.
I didn’t want to let it go, but Jake was right. This is the Monday survival kit, here, an anthem for overcoming reality. It has to be light, and if you can’t tell that from the first few beats of the drum, then it just isn’t light enough.
Yesterday I watched a video by Brendon Burchard that sort of explains this particular happiness tip. It’s all about living in the moment you’re in. Burchard explains that science has studied happiness for centuries, and this we know: You’re happy based on how you view the past, the present, and the future. And for the present, it’s all about being here, really finding the flow for right where you are and what you’re doing.
It’s full on fall around here. The weather got all chilled and crackly last week, just like that. I think it knew football was coming. Watching my children in a team sport is pretty much a guarantee for that in-the-moment feeling that equals happiness. I don’t want to be anywhere else when I’m there. I don’t want to multi-task or even think about all the things I’m usually thinking about. I’m just so there, and so glad to be.
On Saturday, I managed to capture the grand entrance our high school team makes at home games. (My greatest vested interest is in #16, which you will be able to tell. The link takes you to the brief video on Instagram.) I captured the video while also conducting my first live broadcast on Periscope*. The broadcast was meh and pixel-y and frustrating right up until the entrance itself, and then it got all clear and perfect – just like happiness when you’re living in the moment.
I was thinking like my playlist, perhaps we should all have a happiness list for those events or places that always put us smack dab in the present moment without a smidge of squirming. Wouldn’t it be nice to know your happiness by heart so you always know how to get there? My list includes football and basketball games, as mentioned; a drive with Michael pretty much anywhere, including the cancer checkups which is saying something; and a nice – even brief – sit-down on my own front porch. I never squirm there.
Now it’s your turn – and if “making a list” is on your happiness list (I know that’s some of you!), your day just got so good. And you’re welcome.
*Periscope is a new app by Twitter – instead of posting a couple sentences, you record a live video. People can watch and interact in the moment, or they can watch the replay, but only for 24 hours. It’s pretty new, and people are just learning, so I don’t feel quite so stupid trying to learn along with them.