Happy Days

The 20s are all about finding happiness in your daily life. The world can be a positively uplifting place but somehow we make it out to not be. There is so much that goes on that brings us down and keeps us there. We lose our for a better tomorrow, our cheeriness in the moment, and our ability to inspire others to trudge on. People underestimate the power of a thousand watt smile and a hearty laugh. Positive affects need to be part of our lives lest we forget what happiness actually looks like. Sometimes you have to choose to be happy, and that's all there is to it.

No matter how bad your life appears to be there is good to be pointed out and things/people to be thankful for. Oh how easy it is to forget all the privileges we have been given or the hardships we don't have to deal with. Read me right, just because your problems are not life threatening does not make them any less valid. Of course the things we face everyday are valid and more than justified. They are however different for each and every one of us. Everyone is going through something (notice the use of the verb phrase as in whatever it is a phase, not an end) and there is no point in comparing who is worse off, who has more demons to wrestle with, and who is the most oppressed. We all are fighting our own battles, unbeknownst to others unless we cue them in, and it's worth it to try to remember that as we interact with other people. We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with sensory overloads of all the darkness that surround us. Catastrophe, chaos, and strife at the top of every hour of every news channel. Drama sells. Scandal piques interest. Death trumps everything. We walk around numb and can't even properly react to news. What happened to caring, feeling, showing compassion? Hell yeah all the travesties of this life matter and should concern us but yet still there is cause for celebration. Everyday there is something, even more so someone, to be thankful for. There are things to smile about. Things to laugh at. Dancing to be done. Food to be enjoyed. Friendships to be forged. Life to freaking be lived and lived free from the tyranny of melancholy. Take the time to look around, to listen intently, to smell vivaciously, to taste with your full palette and to feel something. The world is an amazing place. The world is a beautiful place. Everyday there is something to be appreciated. Take it upon yourself to do so and see how your life can be changed. When you're there, bring others into the light and see the rippling waves of goodness radiate from you outwardly. Be nice! A compliment goes a long way. A smile can turn the tide of an internal war. A welcome touch can remind someone of better days. There are happy days, if you want them to be.

The past few days have been good. It's just that plain and simple. There has been sunshine, there have been smiles, hugs, and so much laughter. There has been gratitude expressed and emotion conveyed. There has been HAPPINESS. Everyday I get to choose how I want the day to go, will be a good one or will I drag myself through it with a chip on my shoulder and a heaviness in my heart. Obviously things happen and feelings change over the course of the day but one of the hardest things to learn and practice in life is controlling how you feel. So many people never learn and so they show up as they are constantly (has it's merits) which can be problematic especially when they bring others down. Sometimes you choose to be happy for yourself and other times it for the benefit of those you're around. Outside of "work" (I mean getting to make people happy is work apparently) I've just been spending my time getting to know people. Whether it's a Panera run or hanging out with Heather and David, talking trash with Dominic or visiting my friends Tyler and Nick, happiness shows up in different ways. I even found time to finish watching season 3 of Scandal (still channeling my inner Rowan) and do laundry. I played tennis with David and Megan which was awesomely challenging. And you know my week wouldn't be complete without a visit from Mac. We went to see Edge of Tomorrow (the movie wasn't that interesting, the opening was basic, the ending was cheesy, and the chemistry was unrealistic). I guess getting to spending time with the dude is usually the highlight of a day but not when I'm not in the right mindset to even enjoy it (don't make plans then do them alone - that's not cool). You do things with not for people (still in that for phase with too many people). Make your friends happy - do what they want every once in a while, what makes them happy (and if you don't know, then you're not listening hard enough). I did round 2 of Panera and caught up with my roommate Zach (wish him luck as he takes on Boston this summer!). I took a trip to our director of student life's farm where chickens, sheep, and vegetables were bountiful. It cool just to relax, eat some bomb ass food and just be. Happy days are upon us friends.

One of the best parts about orientation is that is has given me the opportunity to interact with so very many new people. Being able to have a positive impact on students and welcome them and their families to the university has been one of the most fulfilling things I've ever done. Session two was a change of pace for me as I started off my day at Starbucks  at 6 am before our breakfast and staff meeting. I moved on to helping families check in for housing. After a few hours I caught a pass and made my way to central campus for the big welcome. The energy of that space is unreal. The atmosphere is exhilarating - like a pregame day ritual or something. Right on stage I ran, my heart was beating; I was beaming from ear to ear and I was panting. I calmed down, said my name and took my seat. Soon we dispersed from the chapel and I was on lunch duties like giving directions and bouncing any unticketed solicitors. I ended up having to walk a few families and their students to the sessions they were late for but they all expressed explicit gratitude for my help and it was heartwarming. Hell yeah I was sweaty and tired as heck but those simple thank you's made it all worth it. I was on a family panel answering questions from the audience and probably overshared but I think they appreciated my honesty and authenticity. My group of Kaylyn, Jessica, and I absolutely demolished it with our professionalism but reletability - many a compliment was sent our way. Up next I was tasked with playing Frisbee which pushed me out of my comfort zone. I played and actually had a really good time bringing out the secretly competitive portion of my personality. On to BBQ duty where I stuff my faced, served as a bouncer and welcomed a few people. Again there were stragglers so another few people we moved along. I drove a golf cart (for the first time I might add) back to homebase where I made the new student bags for a good three hours. I was joined by Amy who I had some conversation with. It flowed easy and candidly - both of which I appreciated. Final jobs of the day were at the block where I added some humor to serving hot fudge, got buckwild at the dance portion and then mingled in the casino room. After a quick cleanup (team work makes the dream work allegedly #HitTheFloor) it was back to H/M where I hung out and made of fondly Alex aka A. Rif. David dealt with a room locking crisis with strong conviction and solid follow through while the other two of us reorganized tables and chairs for the next day's light breakfast. Listening to oldies, kind of just being there and being dumb made me so happy. Such a simple thing but totally had so much significance for me. I even got to mess with a new-student, Cam, who ended being my secret favorite even though I didn't have students this session. Happy days are upon us.
Connecting with people can brings some people happiness, I think slowly but surely I'm becoming one of those people. Being able to make a memorable first impression and an even more have a memorably significant conversation with a complete stranger has been so empowering. Seeing other people's happiness makes we want to be happy too. Sunday morning came way too soon and after my morning rounds of hello I made my way to the imperial tent (think Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince) where I spent the majority of the day. Setup the resource fair, welcomed students post registration (Perfect Score anyone - Chris Evans and Scarlett Johannson pre-Marvel), and then passed out plates for the luxuriously local and organic brunch. Me just saying hi and asking students how their course registration went, especially the downtrodden ones, was truly impactful. Taking those for extra seconds to check on people made all the difference. This my favorite version of me. One who is selfless and authentic empathetic and compassionate towards others. I hung out trading quips with Jessica and Dom and even had a noteworthy conversation with Cam. It's funny how initial assumptions can be so off base. Back to H/M I went to help with checkout, first cleaning keys and reorganizing them, then physically checking students out while making intentional conversation. Seeing people's eyes light up when I asked them a question and gazed intently as if their response was the most important thing in the world was heartwarming. That's just who I am and that's the way I do things to the benefit of others. With that second session concluded I was happier than ever, because I wanted to be happy and so I did so. I put everything else on hold and deal with I have to here (Aw here it goes ... it's Kenan). There are your happy days if you just be on the lookout for them.

My blog post question for the day is ... what is one thing that always makes you happy? Whenever I see a really good vine that gets me rolling laughing or when I finish dressing up after taking a shower when my clothing arsenal is fully loaded.


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