#52sparks: Happiness Is

My mom’s nickname for me is George. It has been for as long as I can remember. Though it wasn’t until some time in my teen years that she admitted that it was based on Curious George (aka the monkey who is friends with the Man in the Yellow Hat). Until then she would smile and deny my accusation that she was calling me a monkey. Since my mom also told me that it takes a really long time to make Kraft Macaroni & Cheese (I learned in college the truth: 7 minutes!), there are clearly a lot of things I still need to uncover from my childhood.

But really, I always knew it was about the monkey. And even more, it was about the curiosity. I remember being in a fancy department store with my mom one time. She was shopping for clothes; I was trying to get pieces of paper to float down the staircase into the basement level. I was often touching or trying things I wasn’t supposed to. If there was a closed door, I wanted to see what was beyond it. If there was a shiny object, I needed to touch it. If there was another room, I wandered into it without looking back.

Thanks to sleepwalking as a child, I even wandered off in my sleep. Instead of safe in my bed, my mom would find me on the couch, in a chair, under the dining room table, or somewhere else I wasn’t supposed to be. All that sleepwalking is why we had locks on the  front door above my kid-reach.

I still love doing things I’m not supposed to and going where I’m not supposed to go. Not in a break the law kind of way or anything. Instead I love being awake in the middle of the night, when I’m “supposed” to be sleeping. Or eating pizza for breakfast and cereal for dinner. Or wearing Christmas shirts in July.

Just being a little bit off from the majority.

And that curiosity definitely comes out in my running. Take a couple of weeks ago. The picture with this blog was from a run in Seattle. I was soaking wet before I got a block away from the house. I had mapped out a course to a park the night before, but managed to get lost three times in route and wandered all of the neighborhood. The park ended up being mostly baseball fields. Well, normally they were baseball fields. Thanks to the rain, they were duck ponds. A few city blocks of space on a Saturday morning, and it was just me and a bunch of wet ducks.

The smile on my face from that happy wet run, stayed on for the rest of the day. Thanks being a little bit brave (or a little bit stupid, depending on your perspective), I got to see and experience something that no one else did. I ran through a temporary duck pond. How many people can say that?

Happiness for me is those random experiences that make me feel special in a world with billions of people. This weekend, I hope you do at least one random thing that makes you happy. Maybe open that closed door you have been wondering about. Or try that thing on the menu that may be horrible or may be your new favorite. It’ll be a story. Your story.

“We are the spark, that will light the fire that’ll burn the First Order down” (Poe Dameron, Star Wars: The Last Jedi). – #52sparks is my year-long writing series for 2020, based on an art prompt challenge. The spark that lights a fire to toast a marshmallow or to ravage a forest begins in the space of an inch. This series is to explore what hundreds of inches and words can do.

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