When were you the happiest you’ve ever been?

13 04 2012

…so I was sitting in my computer chair wondering how to present my next post since my last one has been many days ago, and I haven’t really been as active as I would like my blog to show.  I played volleyball on Tuesday and tennis on Wednesday, but I haven’t run in over a week.  My diet is far from what it was a week or two ago, when I felt like I was well on my way to happiness.  I started to think about what it was like to be truly happy.  That’s when I started to wonder, “when was I last truly happy?”

Don’t get me wrong, I have a truly great life.  My wife is an amazing woman, and my kids are about as great as anyone could ask for.  I was always told, “just wait until your daughters are teenagers”, but they are now 17 and 15, and they’ve never once asked me to drop them off a block from the school.  As a matter of fact, the last time I was at St. Charles West High School for my observation for my MAT studies, both of my daughters came running up to me at different times and gave my HUGE hugs in front of their friends.  Jamie yelled, I love you! as she was walking to her next class.  Trey is 10 now, and he is completely immersed in WWII history.  I don’t mean that he’s read a book from the library, and he wants to be a Marine when he gets older.  He comes home, and turns on the Military History Channel, and watches the way most kids watch the Disney Channel or Nickelodeon.  My wife is a Director, and loves what she is doing.  She really wants to see me happy at all times.  I have an amazing family!  I’m relatively happy at all times, but when was the last time I was truly happy?

After re-reading that last paragraph, I realized that I was truly happy just a few seconds ago.  …so where exactly are you going with this post then, Cliff?  When I look at my life today, and then think back 10 years, and then 20 years, what is the difference between the people in those mirrors?  What is similar between the 3 men you see before you?  The biggest difference would seem to be the size!  I was 190 lbs 20 years ago, and in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman.  I was 225 lbs 10 years ago, and working for Bryan Cave (A large law firm in St Louis).  Today I’m 285, and working toward my Masters of Arts in Teaching.  I have let myself literally get too big for my own britches.  The biggest problem between the 3 pictures of myself is that I have become progressively less happy on the inside, and the way I see the man in the mirror today is with disgust and sometimes even loathing.  How could this guy have let himself get so far away from where he once was?  My hands are shaking right now, just for having written that without hitting the backspace key.  Why would I tell anyone else that I see myself in this way?  I simply needed to get it out of me!

Switching gears for just a second.  If I asked you to think back to a time when you were really happy, what would you say?  …now just for the sake of completeness here, I’m not talking about vacations or events.  Everyone is happy on the beach with their favorite drink, sitting next to their husband or wife.  Everyone is ecstatic the day they get married or witness the birth of their children.  I am asking when you are most happy during your normal daily life?  Are you happiest when you are running, when you are working, when others are unhappy (ouch, but it hits home for some), or simply when you are being lazy?  I’m not happy when I’m being lazy, but it seems to have somehow become my favorite past time.

I’m really tired of the roller coaster of diets and weight loss.  Going back to the title of my post, I started to think about when I am most happy.  I am most happy when I’m moving.  If my activity involves a court, a diamond, a sand pit, or any other sporting location, I am at home.  I always tend to feel better when the Springtime rolls around and all of the various seasons are starting.  When I was a kid, I was always happy on the diamond playing baseball.  This is the reason I want to become a Teacher and a Coach.  I want to help kids to develop or continue their love of sport.  I want to see the light go off when they master a new technique, or learn something they never thought they could do before.  I want to move, and to get others to move!  The difference between the 3 guys in those mirrors is their level of activity.  Those guys were both happier than the one that currently occupies my body.  It’s Springtime, and its time to get my butt moving again.

…so how do I bring this whole post together?  I think I finally figured out after nearly 40 years that those school guidance counselors were on to something when they said do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life.  I have been on a decline for the last 20 years, but the decline has come to an end.  It’s time to spend the rest of my life enjoying the body that I occupy, so that the family I love to be around so much can enjoy me for longer than even they can stand.  I need some help getting myself back to where I was.  If you need a walking partner, give me a call.  If you want to hit the tennis ball around, send me a text.  If you just need some motivation to get moving or care to pass some my way, don’t be a stranger.

It’s time for me to be the happiest I’ve ever been.  I want you to join me!

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2 responses

13 04 2012
dave

Great post Cliff. Very thought provoking and I can certainly relate. I am extremely happy right now in the sense that my son was born 5 weeks ago and I am lucky enough to have 3 weeks home with him right now. But at the same time, I have become completely inactive for those same reasons. I have gone on about 3 runs in about the last 3 months, and no spin classes since the week before he was born. Like you, I thrive on that motion. I feel better when I’m hammering myself on a long trail run, or maxing out my heart rate in an anaerobic threshold intervals spin class, or getting in a hard 45 mile ride on the roads. So right now, I’m in conflict. I’m as happy as ever getting to spend every minute I can with my son, but I’m miserable in the sense that I haven’t been able to exercise my body.

It’s great to see you knowing what makes you happy and going after that as your career. Good luck and go get your sport on!

13 04 2012
bgddyjim

Totally happy all last summer, in fact it was my best summer ever. The winter is what it is, and I was as happy as possible in the cold, but now that spring is here, my spirits are climbing yet again (with a hiccup or two). There’s a funny correlation here: Two years ago, total miles running: 350. Last year 1,823 miles riding and running. So far this year 1,182 riding and running. I’m hoping to break 4,000 this year. I’m happy when I’m fit.

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