Category Archives: Happiness

The Magic Day Arrived!


At last!  I got my lifetime US National Park pass; cost: ten dollars (and 62 years).  This was a thrilling day!  For the REST OF MY LIFE I can visit any National Park FOR FREE!  The cost of the pass rises in a couple of weeks to $80, so I’m doing a lucky strut dance right now.  In the distance, just behind the top right corner of the beloved pass, the steam/smoke of Halema‘uma‘u rises.

Besides getting the pass, I also cruised the island hoping to get in the ocean (but not accomplishing that) and taking photos of trippy stuff.  Here you are:

Just past Naalehu, headed to Volcano; it is indeed a big island.
This old car is taking a nap.
This is an old company truck; the bottom lettering reads ‘Kealakekua’.
. . . who guard all this rustee, broken krap.
Assorted ground litter, in sutu.
This old car will not get up from its nap.
I love the ‘mahalo’ sign! West Hawai`i is apparently very hard on cars.

It wasn’t a birthday celebrated in Venice, but it was a good day.  In the evening, I attended a friend’s wake.  On my birthday in Venice, I visited Isola di San Michele (Venice’s separate cemetery island).  And now this year, a wake.  It is a good idea to contemplate mortality; it pushes me to live more fully.

The meaning of . . .

As I mentioned yesterday, I sometimes discover that I’ve used words or terms incorrectly (contender for worst misuse ever: “for all intensive purposes” instead of “for all intents and purposes”, but that was a long, long time ago, I promise!). And since I’m undertaking this blog at least partially as a look into real and permanent happiness, I thought maybe it would be wise to define it before suffering from more foot-in-mouth disease. I think I am pretty comfortable defining some of happiness’ antonyms, that’s for sure, as that job I recently quit was making me “miserable,” not misery as in the aftermath of a natural disaster, but misery as in “great mental or emotional distress; extreme unhappiness” or “a period of despondency or gloom.” So, the flip side of happiness I feel kind of familiar with.

So, now, happiness. Here’s a start:
Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.

Quite honestly, these days my life is extremely pleasing, positive, and full of good hope, kind of like a happy ending to a scary fairy tale! So, that’s good. I’m in sync with at least one definition re: the contentment factor. But I wonder: is this “real” happiness, or just a cessation of misery? The following is a reason I wonder.

Because of my miserable state, I was beginning to, well, really hate the entire human race, even though it was merely the small group of people I had to spend time near who were stressing me out. And now, after, what?, six or seven weeks of not going out into the world daily, I’m starting to feel an honest kinship with my fellow human beings. That’s kind of a quick turnaround, and I don’t usually trust quick turnarounds.  Is it only because I’m spending so much time away from people that I’m starting to like them?! Ha! No, I think these compassionate feelings come from something else, something deeper, not the least that all that time and effort I was spending angry and frustrated I’m now directing towards better, introspective thinking. Yahoo! It’s not just a cessation of suffering!  It’s the real deal.

Anyway, as the blog primarily exists in the pursuit of understanding happiness and how to have more of it – in tandem with making sure I am correctly and precisely using “words, words, words,” – I’m going to put serious effort in to getting to the root meanings of concepts. Future posts will look closely at creatively and health, cuz, you know, I want to get this life right. Also, there’ll be some deep diving into the concepts of simplicity, and peace, and freedom, and dare I try?, love.

Yeah, no. Not gonna tackle the last one. Someone else can. Oh no, wait, songwriters and poets have pretty much taken care of that! Definitely feel the pressure is off.

Take care, everyone.

Today’s note to self: be careful whom I spend my time with – some people make me hate everybody!

Proust Questionnaire Question of the Day: What is your greatest regret?

Not having had better parenting skills.

I read and I learn and I feel much gratitude

I read The Economist, which usually makes me so sad, as much of its international reporting is about atrocious and cruel people, including recent stories about the murder of journalists and bloggers. I am so lucky to live where I live.

I’m also reading a biography of Albert Einstein. This is the first time I have ever thought of him as a human being! He was always mythical to me, I suppose, as I’m surprised to learn he had girlfriend problems, couldn’t find work early on, and felt unappreciated. He was a guy, albeit a guy with an amazing brain, but he was just one of us after all, and his life’s trajectory, and that of all humankind, could have been altered ten millions of ways had he turned a different corner somewhere.

One more cool thing about starting a blog: I’m learning correct meanings of words and terms I’ve used incorrectly all my life. That’s worth the price of admission!

Proust Questionnaire Question of the Day: What do you most dislike about your appearance?

That I often glance in the mirror and I’m not smiling.