It’s 2:40am, and I cannot sleep.
This after a very good day, but I decided to try sleeping without an aid for the first time in two months, and it did not work. I just took some Tylenol to relax the low-level aches caused by the return to exercise the last few days. Let’s see if that helps.
But first, I guess I should take a stab at writing, and schedule it for later this morning.
Last night, in a conversation, I was asked what makes me happy. Then, a link was offered in Facebook about Harvard’s study of men’s perception of happiness throughout their lives. I guess we are back to understanding happiness, a topic approached in the early days of my diagnosis.
I answered that I have used three words to describe myself over the years, admitting that maybe they were just how I felt, and not necessarily “real.” Curious, enthusiastic, and sensitive. While I admitted that I had become good at recognizing the feelings of sadness, and even their source, understanding of “happiness” had escaped me. I also described how when students approach me about career choice, I advise them to keep a diary that records their happy moments and those times that cause them not to smile. Over time, a pattern might suggest what road to follow in life. Even though I write, and have kept a diary, I have not taken my own advice and monitored my sources of happiness.
I can speculate, however.
I love to read, and I love to exercise, in particular to run. Note they are solitary tasks, which does say something. Teaching helped me to enjoy reading with others who share the same interest. On the other hand, long ago I gave up competitive sports. Other than an occasional round of golf, I seem to like individual exercise better (maybe I just do not make the time, I will admit). These two loves were squashed for a while with my illness. I found myself not wanting to read, and readers know how the leukemia took away my ability to run at a distance. I am pleased that I am satisfied with the start of one minute intervals for 20 minutes, which I would like to build upon. Over the last few weeks, as my sadness lifted, I found myself being able to read again — a good thing!
But to be honest, what else interests me? I answered that question with this: “I have always been interested in how it all works.” I acknowledged that this was like asking, “why is there air.” The thought crosses my mind that maybe this is a clue, I think “macro,” and have trouble with the “micro,” thus finding everyday things to enjoy and savor.
And brings me to the big conclusion stimulated by the Harvard study. According to the story I read, a great source of happiness to these men were relationships, both social and intimate. Relationships have been hard for me. And somehow, I have to come to terms to that.
Thus, a task, one which might lead to other activities and people and to relationships, of all kinds, and ultimately the satisfaction of happiness.
Thanks for listening.
To be continued… (3:31am, I need to try again to sleep)