Happiness: Meaning and Pleasure

NPR has a segment on a class at Harvard about how to be happy.  On their web page, they have six tips on how to find happiness from tal Ben-Shahar and one in particular struck me as something I’ve thought about a lot.  NPR : Finding Happiness in a Harvard Classroom.

2. Happiness lies at the intersection between pleasure and meaning. Whether at work or at home, the goal is to engage in activities that are both personally significant and enjoyable. When this is not feasible, make sure you have happiness boosters, moments throughout the week that provide you with both pleasure and meaning.

When people talk about what they’d do "if they won the lottery", it always seems to involve beaches and vacation homes.  I think that would be boring, or meaningless, after a while.  I’ve always wondered what you would do all day, how you would meet friends, what you would learn, what you would contribute, … how long could you read best sellers, lie on the beach and drink mai-tais?  Certainly it would be fun for a while but then I think you’d need something else to do.   So as much as I’d love to spend time sailing in the Carribean, I can’t imagine retiring permanently to a boat in the Carribean.   Maybe for a year or two. 

To be happy  you need pleasure and meaning.  And often meaning comes from challenges.

Secrets & 5 year olds

Jacob’s idea of what to do with a secret is "Hey! I have a secret.  Want to hear?" 

Today he evolved to the next level.  I was playing the role of stuffed bunny rabbit when he told the bunny in a whisper, "Hey, you know what?  I hid a bouncy ball in each pocket so I can take them to school." 

So there I am holding a stuffed rabbit trying to decide if I react as bunny and then confiscate the bouncy balls on the way out the door … or if bunny should be mom and tell Jacob he shouldn’t take bouncy balls to school …  or if I should just drop out of role playing for a minute to talk about bouncy balls and taking toys to school …  (I did the latter but on retrospect I would do the first one next time. Or maybe bunny should ask if that’s a good idea.)

If you are playing the role of bunny are you entitled to know the information that bunny is privy to?

Ultrasounds & 5 year olds: “Is this going to be scary?”

So as you read earlier,  We told our 5 year old about the baby, and he’s been asking all sorts of interesting questions.  We took him to the ultrasound and he asked the following:

  • As we pulled up to the hospital, "is this where your doctor is?" (No, it’s the hospital.)
  • "Is that like urgent care?"  (We had a traumatic experience with urgent care recently – three staples on the top of his head.)
  • As we got out of the car, "is this going to be scary?"
  • As he held our hands crossing the parking lot, "are they going to peel your skin back to see the baby?" (Yikes!)
  • As we went into the exam room, "can Dad come in too?"

What a brave kid!

We told our 5 year old about the baby

We told our 5 year old last night that he is going to have a baby brother or
sister … He was very pensive the whole time and thought about it
quite a bit.

We asked what he thought about having a baby brother or sister.
We told him it wasn’t a choice, so he decided it must be a girl since all his baby cousins are girls.

He asked the following questions:

  • Will I have to share my bionicles?
  • How are you going to sleep?  Don’t sleep on your stomach or you might hurt the baby!
  • Are you going to sleep in those clothes?  Won’t the baby fall out
    when you take them off?  (So we had to explain the baby was IN my
    stomach and I showed him my stomach.)
  • How will the baby get out?  (It will be born.  Oh!  I was born.)
  • Can I sit next to the baby on the way home from the hospital?
  • Can I teach it to ride a bike?  She can have my little blue one.
  • Can she sleep with me?  I’ll wake you up if she cries.

It was very cute and a much more thoughtful conversation than I was expecting.

Modern day kids

This morning I was typing away on the computer when our 5 year old asked what I was doing.  I said I was writing a letter.  He said "which one?"  I said a letter.  He said "which letter?"  When I realized he thought I was typing just one letter of the alphabet, I tried to explain what a letter was and how you write them to people that aren’t here.  He said, "OH!  An email."

Weather where I’ll be

I won’t be posting anything next week but you can watch the weather forcast for where I’m at.  Thinking about the weather forecast makes me miss my grandmother.  She used to watch the weather channel all the time and she would call me up and tell me what my weather was supposed to be like and she’d want to know if they’d gotten it right!

Click for Beef Island, British Virgin Islands Forecast

Or if the image above is not working, which seems to happen more often than not, you can go directly to the Weather Underground page for Road Town.

I’m going sailing!

I’m quite excited!  I’m going to spend the last week of my summer break taking a sailing class in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) with Offshore Sailing School.  The class will give me bareboot certification so I can go down and rent a sailboat on my own.  (And hopefully it will give me the confidence to do that!)  For the current weather conditions in the BVI check out Weather Underground.

Latest Project: My Baby Book

I’m posting this not because I think I’m a supercute baby but because I wanted to show off my latest project: Stormy’s Baby Book – a photoset on Flickr.  View it as a slideshow for best results.

I’ve been scanning in a lot of old photos and what amazes me is that there aren’t more services available. I tried to get my grandmother’s photos scanned in and they wanted $15/photo just to scan each one in!  Then to touch them up would be another $30-$150 depending on the photo.   I couldn’t find anybody that advertised scanning in old photo albums like baby books.

Is it a business I should go into?  Would you be looking for a service like this?