the gratitude project

The Gratitude Project, A Millennial’s Quest to Find Happiness: Day 3 – Fun is Not Overrated

the gratitude project

By Maria Russo

Day 3

I don’t have enough fun; it’s a problem really. When I was young — like high school and college young – there wasn’t a day that passed that I didn’t laugh til my belly ached. I think at some points I just laughed for the hell of laughing because fun was cool and accepted and necessary. I never felt bad for spending hours on something mindless like marathon watching the OC and eating an entire Dominos pizza. If I slept until 12:00 p.m.? Oh well — that was just the excuse I needed to stay up until 3:00 a.m. And I used to sing; in my room; on the phone with friends; with my upper body protruding out the sunroof of my friend’s car as we cruised the streets of DC; and linked arm and arm as I walked with friends from building to building on my beautiful high school campus.

Ahh, fun…

When you cross the line from child to adult, Fun kneels safely on the soft, fuzzy ground of the Child side, pleading “no” and refusing to take a step forward. The little shit stays in the warmth of those crazy, innocently mischievous memories and abandons you once Responsibility sweeps you to your new place in life.

For most (but not for all) your day goes something like this: dawn is wakeup time (insert sporadic exercise here); eating is something you do between meetings, emails, projects and a bitch session courtesy of your boss; dinner, well that’s just a recap of work and a time for you to bitch about the bitch session courtesy of your boss (if you have kids maybe this is a time where you actually laugh and feel free for a moment); bed – we all know it can take hours to find pleasure in what happens here – falling asleep, of course.

My day doesn’t go quite like this, but I rarely laugh til my belly aches and I definitely don’t spend time enjoying the peace of doing something mindless like lazing around midday on a Monday wearing pajamas — the oversized, grandma looking kind — with a glass of wine, some good cheese and a romance novel.

Most of us never do this, or if we do it’s on a rare weekend in January when we’re locked in our home because there is three feet of snow outside.

I can’t continue this rant without saying that I am blessed, utterly and completely blessed with a life that affords me the most basic necessities and plenty of excesses. I have love, family, friends, work, shelter and the region of the world where I live is not being destroyed, bombed, mutilated or taken. I am lucky in every sense of the word and I am grateful.

Last week I went to an outdoor concert with my sister. I hadn’t been to a concert in over a year and I had forgotten the feeling of listening to music in the midst of a warm summer day, wind cooling our sweaty faces and the sexy blush of sunset glowing all around the stage. It was fun. We danced like five-year-olds bouncing on a trampoline; we sang out loud with Trevor Hall, Brett Dennen, SOJA and Michael Franti; we did cartwheels on the beach and even shed a few tears of inspiration. The concert was called “Soulshine”, fitting don’t you think?

That night, during the long drive home, my sister snoring and drooling in the seat beside me, I thought how wonderful it would be if my soul could shine like that everyday. Maybe it won’t be concerts and cartwheels all the time, but perhaps I can find little moments throughout the day to let my heart beam with joy – laugh, hug, kiss, drink, read, cuddle, sing…

So I am grateful, Mr. Achor, for the opportunity to let my soul shine – every day – and for the chance to stick my head out the car window, breathe in the rushing warm air and belt out my favorite songs.

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