and those who aren’t.”
I’ve always been a sucker for lists. When listening to a lecture, I always perk up when the speaker says, “There are four essential qualities of…” All the chaos and complexity of the subject gets reduced down to bite-size portions that we can savor and digest. So when someone once said to me that only three things are necessary for happiness, my pen was poised in hand.
1. Something to do. Work (or play) that is worthy of our attention, that is at once fun and challenging, pleasurable and maddening, simple and complex. Work that both pats us on our shoulder and kicks our butt. Work that not only refreshes us, but gives something worthy to the world, that has a purpose alongside the pleasure.
2. Someone to share it with. The musician gets pleasure out of playing alone, but it doubles when playing with others and triples when playing for an audience. We are social creatures and from barn-raising to brain-storming, we work better together. The pleasure is multiplied when shared with someone or many others, the pain is subtracted when others help carry some of the weight.
3. Something to look forward to. In spite of Ram Dass’s injunction to “Be Here Now,” we live with one foot perpetually in the future. Our day carries an extra sparkle when we anticipate the fresh corn and barbecued chicken awaiting us at dinner or the Friday night movie or the next Warriors’ play-off game. (GO WARRIORS!!!) If we’re smart, we start to dream about our vacation in Sicily before we ever arrive and that’s when the vacation actually begins. And makes a difference when we finally set foot on that soil.
And so at the end of a year of worthy work, shared with wife and daughter and brilliant colleagues and vivacious children, I’m starting to look ahead to the upcoming trips to Ghana, Spain, Austria, Italy and beyond. But first the Warrior’s on Monday!!!