Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Episodes of Happiness

I used to have the life strategy of planning out five episodes of happiness for myself each day. The episodes could be small. Small ones are often the best. But they had to be reliable/guaranteed episodes of happiness. For example, sometimes teaching my class is the highlight of my day; other times, I leave class feeling that I have to wear a bag over my head for the rest of my life. So I never put "teaching my class" on the happiness schedule; if it ends up being an episode of happiness, that's a lucky extra in my day. Favorite items included: 1) lingering in bed for an extra ten minutes in the morning, without guilt, luxuriating under the covers; 2) walking a few extra blocks before I got on the Skip to go work; 3) having lunch with a friend; 4) reading a good book for half an hour before going to bed; and 5) ??? It was always fun to try to come up with that fifth episode.

Since I've come to Indiana, I've fallen out of this habit. Every day here is one long unbroken stretch of happiness. But lately I've decided that I missed the practice of distinguishing and honoring distinct little bits of happiness. So sometimes now I reckon up my episodes of happiness after the fact.

Here is my list from yesterday:
1) reading Honor Scholar submissions in my comfy bed in the early morning with my mug of hot chocolate
2) walking up and down Seminary Street as it was beginning to be light
3) oatmeal at the Hub with lots of brown sugar and raisins
4) my class - really good!
5) session one of my Cheshire Calhoun reading group, all of us sitting by the Prindle Institute fireplace discussing Cheshire's essay, "Changing One's Heart" - extremely fun!
6) talking on the phone for a long time to my dear Colorado friend Diane

That makes six, not five. But there is nothing wrong with having an additional episode of happiness, or for that matter, two or three or four.


  1. I love this post, Claudia. You are wonderful.

  2. What a great list!
    By the way, we are loving your books. Besides the Gus and Grandpa books, we've read 7x9=Trouble, which inspired Isabel and Julia to want to learn their times tables (it's a bit early, but I was glad they were positive about it!), Perfectly Chelsea, which helped to satisfy their curiosity about church and religion, How Oliver Olson Changed the World, which they loved (and inspired some makeshift dioramas at home), and just now Ziggy and the Blue-Ribbon Day (?), which they also loved. Wonderful books!

  3. Thanks so much for telling me, Mitzi. I LOVE to think of your girls busily memorizing times tables and making their own dioramas, inspired by my books!!!!!! Just love it!