I debated with myself whether to write this blog -- it's a happy one -- or even to write it, as I want to explain some things that make me happy while not sounding like a braggart or seeming to be begging for applause, with I definitely am not.
But here goes.
Lately I have felt unfulfilled, bored, lonely, stressed, depressed, I'm not sure what. I mowed the back yard this afternoon, cleaned up and was ready to sort papers and declutter and stay in tonight. A friend of the family's wanted to meet for dinner so I went. No biggie, just a comfortable diner where we know the staff and feel welcome.
While there I talked to a couple seated behind me about their two-month-old baby
. Then I asked their son how old he was, that I guessed 10 (trying to flatter him). He said he was only six and quickly added, "But some kids at school think I'm in the fourth grade but I'm only in the first." And he smiled. I wished them all a healthy, happy life and, as I left, the parents and the son were beaming. The baby may have been too but it's hard to tell at that age.
I had noticed two women also sitting nearby who prayed before their dinner. I have remarked to diners before about how satisfying it was to see that but tonight I felt compelled to say hi, tell them how nice it was to see them say grace and told them I wanted to leave their tip, and did. They also were smiling, thankful and surprised as I left.
The next stop was Publix grocery store where I had an interesting conversation with a woman as we both shopped for dog food. Then had a funny joke-telling time with the cashier and bagger as I checked out.
As I left the parking lot I saw an Orlando firefighter walk back to his rescue truck. I asked if he knew my nephew Aaron, also an Orlando firefighter. He admitted he did and complimented him. We exchanged names and I asked him to tell Aaron his uncle was checking up on him. This is a running joke between Aaron and me because it seems every city firefighter I meet, no matter where that is, knows him and makes an effort to kid him about his uncle checking up on him. We shook hands and left, both smiling.
On the way home I stopped at a nearby bowling center
to watch a friend's last summer league session. I had a $5.00 off coupon and gave it to a family finishing up their games. The mother was suspicious at first until I explained that he center gave me occasional incentives for bowling leagues there. Then she couldn't seem to thank me enough. To me it was not a big deal. All I did was print out the coupon. Seemed a shame to let it go to waste.
I met up with my friend, watched her team win the second half of the league then headed home.
What makes times like this so uplifting to me is that I am not an extrovert at heart, but I have learned that simply taking the initiative to begin a conversation with people makes me feel good
so it is something I try to do whenever I am out.
Psychologists will be better able to analyze why doing good for others -- even something as simple as asking about a baby -- lifts our spirits. All I know for sure is that this evening's events will help me sleep better. For as much as others thanked me tonight, I thank them for opening up to a stranger and letting him into their lives for a few bright moments.
Now, how do I bottle these feelings and keep them on hand for the times when the spirit needs an uplift?