Monday, January 25, 2010

Happiness Day 10: Enthusiasm

Today's Happiness Project topic is a spectacular follow up to Friday's post on Barry Manilow: Enthusiasm.

I love enthusiasm. I think it's because of my parents. My mom is the single most determined to like everyone she meets person I've ever known. If you have the good fortune to encounter her (particularly if you're a girl, and provided her oxygen tank is working correctly) she'll find some way to compliment you within the first fifteen seconds of making your acquaintance. Do your socks match this morning? My mom will cheer you on for the fine effort.

My Dad is less effusive, but still he taught me the value of enthusiasm one afternoon with a single sentence. We were driving down the road on some sort of errand when we passed one of those small sporty cars that was just TRICKED OUT with accessories. You know the looked like it had run away from the circus: florescent wiper blades, blinking lights around the license plates, rims that spun in two different directions to make the car look like it was taking off. Need I mention that the muffler had been tweaked to ensure that the engine could be heard over the booming bass from the stereo? It was quite the multi-sensory experience. I was about to make some snide comment like, "Wow Dad, I bet you'd love it if I dated that guy..." when my father made a wise observation that changed my point of view:

"I kind of envy that kid," he said with a smile. "He gets more enjoyment out of that car than I probably get from anything in life..."


As Gretchen Rubin points out, it takes effort to be enthusiastic. It requires a certain suspension of snark that allows some innocent enjoyment to seep back in to our psyche. That's my goal today: to be unabashedly enthusiastic about things I'm tempted to be too cool for. (I'll start by admitting that if ESPN covered baton twirling competitions, I'd be starring in my own sparkly version of BEST IN SHOW...)


Stacy said...

My socks totally match today. Where can I meet your mom and get my dose of encouragement? :)

I think we all like to be too cool to be truly enthusiastic, so what a great resolution for the day!

Holly said...

I once heard someone say, "Geekiness is a form in sincerety," which I think is right alone these lines -- allowing yourself to like something enough to stop being ironic and detached about it, even if other people start to think you're weird.

I was tempted to say something about being unapologetically enthusiastic about irony, but the truth is that, off-hand, I'm not sure what I'm that enthusiastic about. It would be fun to find it, though :-).