Happy Life 101
Last night I went to bed happy thanks to a terrific evening of funny, sweet skits (and desserts) by the high school debate drama and forensic team, the Glacier Bards, and my night table reading. I had been cleaning a bookshelf and found Anna Quindlen's book, A Short Guide to a Happy Life, and read the whole thing before turning out the light. It is short, and there are pictures. I suspect it was actually a college graduation talk. That's the way it reads. It is a little preachy, but since it's my kind of preaching, I didn't mind. Here in Haines we have more college grads than any other Alaskan town per capita, and our school district pledges to graduate life-long learners. We are thinkers, and talkers, who lead examined lives, and ponder, often out loud, what it all means, and why we do the things we do, so her advice to be generous with both time and money, to "tutor a seventh grader" or play with a baby, is not so much radical, as an affirmation of the blessings of community and family. Quindlen advises: "Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure. It is work." It took work to make an evening so happy and full of love as last night's Valentine themed show, from the students and coaches preparing the pieces, to the mothers and fathers and friends who baked the gourmet treats. But all that would be for nothing without the audience- there would be no smiles (or a lot less, the Glacier Bards are a happy troupe who make their own fun) had we not gone out in the rain after dinner on a dark Thursday night to appreciate all of it. Anna Quindlen is right. Love is work. It's the best work we do.