Do You Like the Things that Make You Happy?

“So what do you like?” has always been a great ice-breaking line on first dates. It gets the chick to talk (I seem attracted to the talkative types), and hides the fact that I can’t think of anything to say at first. Usually, they come up with the regular stuff — chocolate, Sex & the City, Bon Jovi, clubbing, etc, but then ever so often, one of them will start the crack that actually caves in that ice floor. While I’m yet to meet the woman who says “I like Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance“, I have met one or two who liked Clapton or explaining religion through quantum physics, and that’s a great start. So great that I often use it when interviewing people for jobs.

But does liking something make you happy? Can a guitar riff really give you that deep feeling of positive well-being? I mean, I really like movies, and sex (not necessarily at the same time), but do those things make me happy? Sure, I can be happy watching a great movie or being in bed with a beautiful woman, but do either make me happy? They certainly scratch a certain itch, and are therefore immensely satisfying, but I think happiness is something more, something longer lasting, that sustains you long after the experience is over.

All this started with Dhammika tagging me for this ‘Ten Things that Make Me Happy’ thing. Normally, I couldn’t be arsed going along with it, but I will this time. However, I’m not going to pass it on by tagging anyone else. So, in no particular order, ten things that make me happy, and the specific moments in those things that I really like:

1. Love — giving, getting, and making it.

2. Driving fast — a good open road and my FTO — I’ll do it as often as possible.

3. Travel — walking in a country I’ve never been in before.

4. Solitude — sitting down with a drink and a movie I’ve been waiting to see for months.

5. Writing — that moment when a passage just flows in my mind, and I have to reign myself in just to be coherent.

6. Beautiful women — just the fact that they exist.

7. Books — reading a passage or plot I wish I could write myself.

8. Conflict — the excitement of pitting myself against someone, not really caring too much if I win or lose.

9. Nature — its overpowering assault on my senses.

10. Eric — every second of every minute of the five years I’ve had with him, and for which I’d happily give up all of the other nine.

20 thoughts on “Do You Like the Things that Make You Happy?

  1. thank you. you made me smile. (if that means something or anything).

    your earlier typical outburst is forgotten.

    as i get older i think i am becoming a real emotional sob. 🙂

    tc & have a great week-end. i miss you. (in a very macho way- so not to worry).

  2. Doesn’t number 10 become even more dominant when you’re not with them eh? Not that I know Eric of course, but was thinking of my own kids.

  3. Divorce is hell and coming back. I went through the major of all majors in 1997/8. Didn’t help that my ex-wife was from the same industry I worked in and she came after me with a vengeance.

    I still haven’t been able to escape some of the professional damage she did to me.

    I am lucky, my current wife has been more than a mother to my kid.

    And she was more than ready to take responsibility for the kid.

    I was blessed in finding her and to get my kid when she was just 3 years old.

  4. I like you to write more these nice articles you write. I used to dislike (not hate) anything do with forces until I came across your writings.
    From your list, except #5 and #10m rest are basically mine as well. (I just got a ticket for speeding yesterday, I was not even diving my own car!). Next weekend going to be most of your list, I will be traveling to Yosemite, driving with a beautiful woman, whom I love and in turn who loves me. Nature is my game and I plan to finish Baroque Cycle Volume 3: The System of the World by Niel Stephenson (checkout if you have not read his books, start with Cryptonomicon.) one thing you missed is I love photography. I am sure it is somewhere in your heart! Got to be! It goes with the rest!
    Take care

  5. RD, yup, you’re right.

    Diordna, thanks for the book recommendations. I do like photography (along with things like painting, military history, rugby, firearms, and many others), and there are things (and people) that I love, not just like, but I can’t honestly say that they make me happy.

  6. An honest list… by now I think majority of bloggers on this part of the world has done this..:)

    Driving is something I love to do too…. and nature…. now that is just amazing!!:) not many people really connect with it, do they?

  7. Wow, likes Clapton and explaining religion through quantum physics? You must date some really cool chicks! lol! 🙂

  8. Aren’t the best ones, where you don’t need an ice breaker? When you hit it off with someone instantly? Had any of those?

  9. David if you ever come across anyone who speaks about quantum physics and religion please let me know….very few people take that path.

  10. Would you honestly give up all nine for Eric? Or are you saying this ‘cos you’re missing him even more right now?

  11. Pingback: Tagged « Cerno
  12. I started asking the question ” What do you really like to do in life” starting in 1986 among students, youth, professionals and elders, as I found that most(95%)of the sample of people I interviewed in 1985 were less than 50% content and their occupation/profession was defining their happiness/joyfulness level related to even maintaining their spiritual, mental, emotional and physical aspects in life in a balanced manner. While carrying out interviews and research, I found that most people did not know the purpose of their lives due to their inability to identify, refine and market their natural Talents/Strengths (Thoughts, Drive and Skills) that they were born with. This was the cause of their unhappiness and lack of Joy. After carrying out research in around 25 countries and designing and implementing programs in around 10 countries, we decided that we will innovate a program titled Talents Identification and Development for everYone (TIDY), as the root cause of most problems in the world were related to people not doing what they really like doing in their lives. In an effort to broadcast the change of mindset of human beings, the innovators started setting up TIDY centres (Mostly in Africa) wherever needed and also established a website: http://www.tidycentre.com
    All the best,
    Sunimal Alles
    Kampala,
    Uganda

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