The class we never had

happiness ult
Today I was thinking about the quality (or lack thereof) of my university education.  The reason I majored in journalism was because the line for elementary education was too long, and the line for journalism had only seven takers – all guys.

What I did next was a no-brainer.  I stepped over into the all-guy line and my fate was sealed.  I would become a journalist.  Had a nice ring to it, plus I had a date for dinner before I paid my fees.The girls in the elementary education line are probably still waiting.  (My Mama taught me well.)

happiness againThinking about my chosen vocation led me to deeper reflection.  What did I really learn in school? 

The answer is not much, and the only reason I got by was because after midterm grades came out, my Daddy sent me a catalog for an all-girls school.  I got his message loud and clear and decided to buckle down. 

Isn’t it odd that we were required to take courses in math and science but there was nary a thing on the curriculum which taught us how to be happy?  I’m going to write a letter to Dr. Keenum suggesting that Mississippi State add a major course of study on “Achieving Happiness.”  I’m betting it will fill up quicker than Davis Wade stadium on the first home game weekend.
Not to get all philosophical on you, but isn’t happiness the driving force in our society?  I wish someone had told me to figure out what makes my heart sing, then pursue an education in that field. I’d be a major league horticulturist instead of a weekend hack battling a determined family of weeds.  No, I think I’d be an archeologist digging in Mexico and discovering priceless relics from the past. Or maybe I’d have become a researcher on the quickest way to lose weight. I could write a book on that.

If we ask ourselves why we do anything we do, we may arrive at the awareness that wealth, prestige, great relationships and accomplishments are just a means to the ultimate currency: Happiness.

If I had majored in happiness, I could have written my thesis on the quickest way to get there because it took 67 years of failing miserably before learning that happiness is derived from the simplest things. It is spending time with good friends and laughing like hyenas at things we did before we knew better.  It shows up while spending quality time with my children, and becoming aware how loving and caring they have become without much effort on my part.

I would have learned that happiness can only come when we dare to be ourselves — warts and all — instead of acting like someone we are not – like Martha Stewart or Donna Karan or one of the beautiful people like Kate Winslet or Marilyn Monroe (Boy am I dating myself or what?)

moby dick

For now, I’ll just continue to masquerade as a writer because that’s what makes me happy even if I’m not all that good at it.  Last week my editor, Joe Lee of Dogwood Press in Jackson, presented me with the front cover of my book (to be released in September) and I thought it looked like a comic book (which I’m told is no longer politically correct – we are to call comic books “illustrated fiction”).  Joe is forever building up my fragile self-confidence.  When I complained about the cover to one of my sons, he quickly put me in my place.

“Well Mom, this isn’t Moby Dick,” he observed  I was crushed. I thought it was, which goes to show that a little self-delusion may be the quickest road to happiness.  The moral of this story is don’t ask someone’s opinion unless you’re prepared to receive a little rain on your parade.

6 thoughts on “The class we never had

  1. What you failed to understand my dearest of friends is that your son was paying you the highest of compliments. Having tried on more than one occasion to get through Melville’s opus, I can assure you it is no picnic. And I love the way you write. It’s entertaining, it’s lyrical , and it’s honest. What more should a writer aspire to ?

  2. Thanks Phil. Like your perspective. Guess who just wrote me after finding this site? Neill Deshazo! I had just been wondering about him. Coming down Friday to eyeball the book in its final form. If we get it wrapped up before too late I ll give you a call. Will also be in town Monday night so maybe you and Mo could join me for dinner if you’re in town.

  3. Telegram received on my wedding day, 1970…….”Happiness is the seed. Joy is the flower. Happy day.” Isn’t that what it’s all about?

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