What Makes Nan a Happydog?!
Happydog Guest Blog
Every month, one of my friends, colleagues or students will be a guest blogger, answering the question, "What makes you happy?" Checkout this month's guest post:
Marianna (Nan) Plumstead, Longtime Friend of Paulie & Patti (Patrick's wife and sister in law)
Photo description (left to right): This is the happy trio of Angie, their son Jordan, and Marianna (Nan). Both Nan and Ang are amazing food aficionados and professional cooks who live in East Grand Rapids, Michigan.
What Makes you Happy?
I was flattered when Patrick asked me to make a guest appearance on his blog. His request was deceivingly simple: write about that which makes me happy -- piece of cake, right? Wrong! It’s been eons since I’ve written anything besides a menu, but here goes...
Well, part of the “assignment” is easy. It is short work making a list of things that make me happy: Notre Dame Football, cooking, eating (logical progression, don’t you think?), etc., etc. Describing what brings me true happiness, however, is different. But I’ll give it the ol’ college try...
The Mystery of Creativity
Music & art -- the mystery of creativity -- come to mind right away. Good music, whether it be classical or rock & roll, jazz or blues -- infects me, moves me, satisfies me. It stirs my emotions and really great music moves me to tears. Great art has the same effect, be it abstact, realist, or impressionist. I am removed from myself, my worries and weariness fall away. I get lost for a time and nothing exists but the music or drawing or painting or book & me. I am transported to a place where I am alone, at peace.
The Quiet Mind
Solitude is a great source of happiness. It allows me to have that which Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, called “The fruitful ground; The quiet mind.” I don’t often have the opportunity for true solitude, but when I do, I seize it. Being still & quiet & alone brings me back to what is important to me, and the cares of everyday drudgery fall away. It grounds me and allows me to take account of the the things and people I value most. Which brings me to what brings me the most happiness.
People in my Life
It may sound hokey, especially given my love of and need for solitude, but the thing that brings me more happiness than anything -- with intermittent moments of sadness & grief, anger & frustration -- are the people in my life, past and present. My wife & my boys and the friendships I have had the privilege of making, have given me more wonderful & bittersweet memories and experiences than any one person has the right to have. Their friendship and love gives my life meaning -- without meaning, what is there?