Fountain of Youth

image“There are lots of ways of being miserable, but there is only one way of being comfortable, and that is to stop running around after happiness. If you make up your mind not to be happy there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a fairly good time.” Edith Wharton.

Seems contradictory, doesn’t it?  It might be that once we try to answer the question “What makes me happy?” we have automatically limited our chances of being just that.

Perhaps a better question to consider is “What does happiness feel like to me?” We don’t limit our lives then, because we won’t know if happiness is a by-product until we participate in an activity  that might have been  ignored by the first question.

That is a bit like saying I don’t like toasted ravioli if I have never tried it. I would not mention any kind of pasta when asked what my favorite foods are, but I happen to love toasted ravioli. I missed out often on that tasty dish by automatically dismissing it. Now  I prefer to consider the characteristics of foods I enjoy rather than applying labels. I can make that distinction only after I have sampled a dish. My taste buds thank me for  the variety, for not limiting their experience to beans, bologna and chocolate ice cream.

Now that I am  one of those “girls with grandmother faces” (Francis Weaver authored a book by that title) I am a bit short on time and $$ to try some of the experiences I once dismissed because they were not  on my ‘what makes me happy’ list.

There is a remedy to that, though, a sort of  fountain of youth. Brain experts say our brains don’t know the difference between actual and virtual experiences. Our thinking minds know, but the brain lights up in the same way for both.

Books give me that gift of time and spare me the debt, too! Reading exercises my brain. Those brain cells automatically work to stretch my attention span, visualize the scenes, experience the action and feel the emotions- just from reading print on a page! Neurons fire whether reading about hopping on a Harley to ride across country or actually doing it! Reading is not my substitute for living, though. It is an extension. My bucket list has no end now.

Live to read!  Read to live!

About Teresa Pearson Lee

Retired after 33 years of teaching English and French (one year in private school in Memphis, TN and the rest in public school in Doniphan, MO. Enjoying new adventures - all those things I put off for lack of time, energy, now I can try them! Pottery, writing, traveling, camping, kayaking, dancing, listening to some of the best live music ever, and making lively new friendships. All christened with an appreciation for great red wine! Created and operated KC's on the Current, then sold it and managed it for new owners. You might still find me at the reservation desk when spring rolls around. Born and raised in St. Louis, MO near The Hill. Though a transplant to Southeast Missouri, still a city gal at the core with a deep love of the natural resources in these Ozark foothills. Currently I am a content coordinator for Poplar Bluff Living Magazine and a columnist/stringer for the local weekly The Prospect News. My rescue Siamese helps with most of the proofreading; he has a great ear. I relish the solitude easily had in the Mark Twain Forest but thoroughly enjoy lively outings for music, wine, conversation close to home or in my beloved hometown. Technology is my greatest challenge but so worth the shared connections. There may be a need for solitude but there is little loneliness. The material in this blog written by Teresa Lee is her property and cannot be used without express written consent to do so.
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