“Happiness is a thing to be practiced, like the violin.” John Lubbock, whoever you are, you’re a smart man.
I was drawn to this quote in particular, because in fact I used to play the violin, for about 10 years throughout elementary, middle, and high school. And as a musician, practice you must! Although I’m sure there were times in which my parents regretted encouraging me to play an instrument.
My violin is now collecting cobwebs somewhere in the depths of my closet. I always say I’ll take it out to play again one day…
But whether you play an instrument or not, happiness my friends, is something worth practicing.
I’ve never been the cheerleader type. You know, perky and smiley and all those other exaggerated cheerful qualities. Quite the opposite in fact. I was always an inquisitive, thoughtful, serious sort of child. Perhaps even a dark little thing at times. In second grade, when we were asked to write about a particular topic in our daily journals, such as: “What do you like about yourself?” I would write something like, “I don’t like anything about myself, I’m not good at anything.” Holy perfectionism!
No, a cheerful disposition never came naturally for me. Upon seeing a company of men getting all their equipment ready to cut down some trees at my next-door neighbor’s house, eight-year-old little me marched right over there with an 8″x 11″ hand-drawn sign that read: “STOP KILLING THE TREES!!!” The utter horror and injustice of such a crime was real and important to me. I was jaded by the age of 10.
But as I approach 30, I’m becoming that cheerful, happy person. I’ve still got my edge and introversion, which are parts of my personality that will never go away, and I’m fine with that. I’ve simply learned that what I focus on has changed. Now (not all the time, but enough of the time), I focus on my vision. That place where I see myself in a couple of years time. Living on my metaphorical mountaintop, yet more connected than ever.
It’s a rad thought.