Happiness is Jumping the Groove

Even if Penelope Trunk has stopped talking about happiness research, I am still interested in figuring out what makes me happy. I got a big hint when I took the Meyers-Briggs test (INTJ all the way). I have learned more about keeping my “emotional acre” sustainable here in Doha than in any other time in college.

This week, I had to decide whether I would stay a member of the Doha Singers (the major adult expat vocal group in Doha, whose performance is after I leave and whose rehearsals conflict with my life) or go to a professor’s house to play German board games for 3 hours. I chose the board games, not because the Doha Singers is not a valuable experience, but because it was a boring one for me (and I am singing 3 principal roles in the musical and have rehearsal about every day, so I am meeting my daily singing quota for Doha). I was bored because I know how choirs work, and this community choir was pleasant but not challenging. For me, gaming is an intellectually intense activity than drilling the same dozen songs (though I will miss singing “What Will We Do with a Drunken Sailor” in six-part harmony).

I have also started going by professor’s offices when I have free time, to talk about ideas for the class or even those that only relate tangentially. This adds a personal dimension to my classes which I find stimulating and keeps me engaging with the material because I now feel personally responsible to the professor to contribute.

Every semester, I get into a groove with classes and fall into a mid-semester malaise. I stop having to grow to meet professors’ expectations and so get tired of school. Here I feel more flexibility to give up options, to try out new things to keep myself learning in school. When I am happiest, I am like a pin-ball in a grooved maze, suddenly tipped to an angle–I swoop from groove to groove, jumping across to reach a path which channels my momentum. I am happiest when I am jumping grooves.

Wish me luck for tomorrow: I am basically biking with a large group across Qatar. Something new!

Inspirational Quote:

“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”-Abraham Lincoln

1 Comment

  1. I love the idea of going to professors to just talk about ideas. Sounds like the best way to maximize your learning experience, which for me, would definitely increase my happiness. You might be interested in reading Jennifer Michael Hecht’s book, The Happiness Myth. I think it’s a must read for anyone exploring what happiness means, not only to your personally, but the history of what it’s meant to others.

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