Smile

Today I played in a four hundred-strong youth orchestra that could barely keep the tempo and key through each piece.  I’ve played in the same orchestra, with the same conductors (a different one for each piece), with the same pieces, for three years now.  This massive orchestra played its music in the middle of a shopping mall, surrounded by a crowd of parents mixed with people who only wanted to get to the food court.  The acoustics were horrible, the players varied from amazing to mediocre, the ages varied from eighteen to eight, and it wasn’t an astounding performance by any stretch of the imagination.  These pieces were so familiar to me, I played half of them by memory.

I had so much fun.

There are things in life that aren’t fun.  There are things in life that are boring.  There are things in life that deserve to fall from the roof and spend the next three months in a coma, dreaming about purple canaries.  But all of that can change, without ordering today– just call the number on your screen!

Nothing really has to be boring.  I’m sure you’ve heard that before.  It’s all in the mind.  You’ve heard that too.  Two plus two equals four.  You’ve heard that too.  And all of it is true.  Nothing must be boring, because anything can interest you.  Anything and everything.

Have you ever groaned at being told to do something?  Have you groaned at seeing or hearing something?  The answer is probably yes. You don’t have to groan.  Every time you groan, you decide that you aren’t going to have fun.  You’re assuming that whatever this is wouldn’t interest you if it dressed up in a pirate costume and knocked on your front door.  That groan sealed your fate.  And seals are smelly.

It’s a naughty assumption, that groan.

There are some things in life that are so fun, you can go in expecting boredom and come out excited.  But not everything is like that.  Blessed are the pessimists, for they shall never be disappointed.  Your moods are yours– if you choose them, the world won’t try to change them.

I bet you’re great at making yourself cynical.  I know I am.  I’m so good at it, I have to restrain myself on days.  Okay, every day.  I don’t think I’m the only one.  It’s just so easy to see the world in a negative light.  Everyone else wants you to do the same, it seems.  The news is ten stories about hideous crimes and five stories about sports for every one uplifting story.  Marketing gears itself toward the flaws in the world, and says its product fixes them.  Sometimes the world seems like it’s decided not to get any better.  But that doesn’t mean you’ve made the same decision.

There’s a really great song with a really great title: Don’t Worry, Be Happy.  It’s difficult not to worry about things, but to worry about them with a smile on your face is much less difficult.

I found out today that even if you’re planning to be bored out of your skull, you can have fun just because you want to.  Furthermore, it’s contagious.  My stand partner for these two hours was a girl who, like me, had played these pieces a million times before.  She told me she hated a certain piece.  I replied, “I do too!  I’m gonna love it.”  By the end of the day, she had just as much fun.

Happiness is an ease– a disease without the “dis-“.  It’s contagious.  If possible, make it genuine.  If not, act like it’s genuine until you’re convinced.  If it helps, know that baring your teeth is considered a threat in the wild.

Smile.

happiness

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207 Comments

  1. Amanda Fischer

     /  February 3, 2013

    Love this!!! And smiling is totally contagious. I love making other people smile just by me smiling. It’s awesome. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Robyn Hoode

     /  February 3, 2013

    Very good. Now, I just need to apply this…
    If you aren’t having a good day, just go to YouTube and watch Don’t Worry, Be Happy, from Flushed Away. Who couldn’t be cheered by singing slugs? True, they’re scarcely replacement for Norweigian Blue Parrots, but still…

    Reply
  3. Robyn Hoode

     /  February 3, 2013

    *hums along to the song* …Dum, dum-dum, dum, da-dum. da-da, da-da,da-dum, don’t worry, be happy…

    Reply
  4. Emily

     /  February 3, 2013

    What are the odds? I, too, found myself playing with a 400-piece youth orchestra in the middle of a shopping mall this afternoon!

    Good post! I agree, everything is easier when you do it with a smile. If only I could remember this in geometry class…

    Reply
  5. thewhisperingbook

     /  February 4, 2013

    I love this one. Beautifully written, and very true.

    Reply
  6. Lisette Cando

     /  February 4, 2013

    I completely agree! It’s interesting how much power we have to control how we feel. I find that my happiest days are the ones that I am excited about and I want to be good. On my birthdays for example I have this expectation to be happy and so I am. It’s awesome!

    Reply
    • Precisely. Birthdays are a great example. Though some things can ruin them for you no matter how happy you want to be, you always start out happy because you’re inclined to be so.

      Thanks!

      Reply
  7. Melly

     /  February 4, 2013

    i used this kind of thinking when i went into my math diploma exam. i thought, “hey, this is gonna be fun!”. and despite being the exam that determines if i graduate or not, i actually had a lot of fun writing it. go figure.

    Reply
  8. Charley R

     /  February 4, 2013

    Bless this post, in the name of fantasticness.

    That is all.

    Reply
  9. rickwood26

     /  February 4, 2013

    Well done.

    Reply
  10. That’s right. The cup is not half-empty, it’s half-full! (If we count the air inside the cup, technically it’s all the way full…)

    Reply
    • Robyn Hoode

       /  February 4, 2013

      Thank you, Mr. Spock. 🙂
      ~Dr. McCoy
      (speaking of optimism vs. pessimism) 🙂

      Reply
      • Checking one’s comment the day after one posted it…dreadful, dreadful idea. Looks like the comment train left without me!

        Anywho…who’s Mr. Spock?

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 7, 2013

        You are, Seana. Or did you mean “who is Mr. Spock?” Star Trek.

    • I quite agree, to both your new name and your statement.

      Reply
      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 4, 2013

        She’s only Spock because she got to it first. It’s a name wars have been started over.
        (If you thought the silver spoon heist was bad, just wait until there’s a total war on your blog within the comments! Readers taking sides, taking each other hostage…)

      • Mwahaha… I look forward to it.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 4, 2013

        I’m beginning to think Les Miserables wasn’t good for you.

      • Are you kidding? I’ve been this way since Artemis Fowl.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 4, 2013

        Oh, dear…

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 4, 2013

        You know… I like nice little duels. Can we avoid the Battle of Helm’s Deep (which id unquestionably the longest part of The Two Towers)?

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 4, 2013

        Well, when you are in the service, you’re supposed to pick the lesser of two weevils… having read neither Artemis Fowl or Les Miserables, I cannot pick either.

      • Read Artemis Fowl.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 5, 2013

        When I can get to a library or get it for free on my Kindle. In the mean time, I’m going to finish The Keeper and the Rune Stone and read Les Miserables.

      • One does not simply read Les Miserables “in the mean time”.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 5, 2013

        And one doesn’t simply walk into Mordor either.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 5, 2013

        Well, I’m going to give it a good try, anyway. I’ve got it on my Kindle (so I’m not facing a doorstop), and I’m interested, and I’ve got a sophisticated talking cat to come with me on my journey. So all I need now is some lembas bread and seven other people. Easy.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 5, 2013

        Maybe. I’m not a fan of demon stories. Doesn’t Artemis Fowl have demons in it?

      • Book five has a brand of demons in there, but it’s by name and not by form. I think you’d like it.

      • That WOULD be something, Robyn. The hostages and taking sides and wars. 😛

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 5, 2013

        Hmm. Think of all the fun we had just plotting a heist… but how would we choose sides?

      • Good point. And what would the sides even be?

      • OOH! You know…Liam should plan this all out. The Great Blog War!!!

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 5, 2013

        Don’t give Liam any ideas.

        Oh, I think we will have to pick sides according to something absolutely ridiculous… like red heads and blondes vs. everyone else. Of course, that one would confuse me. My hair is gold- literally. So that’s blonde and brown, kind of, and I have red highlights.

      • That…would be very confusing.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 5, 2013

        Indeed 😉

      • Gah! You’re turning into Liam! Soon I won’t be able to tell the difference…*shudders* If he decided to write a comment as “Robyn Hoode”…

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 5, 2013

        I am not turning into Liam. I do not play the cello, make up creatures that I can’t spell, and I read romance (I don’t consider Jane Austin actually a romance, but other people do, so…) I’m just using his catch phrase. 🙂
        If he tries any such nonsense, I’ll send my cat after him. If you’ve never been scolded by a talking cat…

      • *Grins* I was kidding. 😉 You’re not acting anything like him…it’s something I can tell, I guess maybe because I’m a writer, but I can identify people by their writing styles (even just comments) usually. It’s pretty awesome.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 6, 2013

        Oh, good. Liam can be Liam and I will be Robyn and we will stick to our own writing styles (come to think of it, I don’t dump lattes into backpacks, either.) 🙂

      • *laughs and laughs*

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 6, 2013

        Now that everything is alright and not confusing, how about tea and hot buttered toast at my house? 0922 Hobbit Lane, Mithril Valley, Gondor, Middle Earth. It looks like a hobbit hole, but is built more suitably for those of taller stature.

      • Erm, surely. Only without the tea. I don’t particularly like tea. But I love buttered toast!

        Now, hmm…*types address into Google maps* Hm. It says it’ll take me about 22 light years to get there. Well. I’ll just use my teleporter. POOF!

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 6, 2013

        Not even a Southern iced sweet tea? I do have hot chocolate and coffee.
        Ah! You should have gone through the wardrobe! Much simpler and faster, actually.
        Tempest, this is Amanda. She is a dear friend and I expect you to be on your best behavior.

        Tempest: (*gives Robyn a look* “When have I ever not been well behaved? I’m not the one who pretended to steal spoons.”)
        If you’ve never been scolded by your cat…

      • Oh, I have. It’s just been a while, because my cat died 5 years ago and I haven’t had a pet since. My characters yell at me all the time, though.

        And nope, not even a nice southern iced tea. What kind of southerner am I?!?!? *sighs* At least I have some of the lovely accent.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 6, 2013

        I was born in Georgia. I’m a Georgia-peach 🙂

        So, can I interest you in some chocolate cake or lemon bars?

      • Oooooh. Hard decision. How about both?

        I was born in North Carolina and lived there until I was 11. 😛 But now I’m quite fairly turning into a Floridian…

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 6, 2013

        But never mind the bread? 🙂

      • Oh, deary dear. I like bread too. Why must you do this to me?! I guess the bread will have to wait.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 6, 2013

        Oh, you may have the bread, too! It was a matter of name the quote.
        Now, I’m not sure what a crumpet is, but I think I have some around here… somewhere. Oh, look, I found some sponge cake! Apparently, my house is more like a hobbit hole than I had first believed… I can make you some eggs, if you’d like.

      • Um…I hate eggs. 😛

        Oh, I see. Alice in Wonderland, perhaps?

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 6, 2013

        Winnie the Pooh.

      • Ahhh. Should’ve guessed.

        Okay, moving now!

      • Question: Why are we having a tea party on Liam’s blog?

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 6, 2013

        Because… I am not Liam. I think it’s a celebration of the fact that things are not confusing… of course, this may not be the best place for that… shall we move to your blog?

      • Um, sure.

      • I may have to make a page just for tea parties. 😀

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 6, 2013

        That is an excellent idea!

      • I don’t even play cello.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 6, 2013

        Really? What do you play?

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 6, 2013

        I am still not turning into you whether the cello is involved or not.

      • I play upright bass.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 6, 2013

        Because I am curious, what’s the difference between them?

      • A bass is bigger and plays deeper notes.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 6, 2013

        Hmm, I see. There really aren’t many instruments bigger than a cello (this coming from a piano player).

      • Tuba, most percussion instruments, pipe organ. There are a lot, actually.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 6, 2013

        Yes, but who carries around a pipe organ?

      • By the way, sorry about the tea party in Robyn’s house and yet on your blog, Liam. We moved when we realized it.

      • No pwobwem.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 7, 2013

        How my house got onto your blog, we’ll never know.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 7, 2013

        I was hoping for an explaination…

      • None is forthcoming.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 7, 2013

        Okay. Now I am demanding an explaination.

      • None is forthcoming.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 7, 2013

        Now, I am going to give you one more chance to explain! If you refuse, I will send my cat after you!

      • Nothing is forthcoming, except perhaps a large bottle of Tylenol, which will kill the cat within two days.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 7, 2013

        In other words, you really have no idea how my house ended up on your blog?

      • No, I have an idea. I’m just not willing to tell it to you.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 7, 2013

        Tempest, why don’t you go pull a sad, big-eyed kitten look? NO one can resist that.

      • And why don’t I show him my big bottle of Tylenol?

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 8, 2013

        How is showing him pain-reliever supposed to help? I’m just curious. Did a Twysdrn do it?

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 8, 2013

        Or is this just evidence of why you need somethuing else to read?

      • Very good question, Robyn. Both of them. (How your house got on his blog and is this evidence)

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 8, 2013

        How is Tylenol your explaination? (…None is forthcoming, except a big bottle of Tylenol…)
        And everyone knows that Tylenol won’t kill a cat! That’s curiostity! And my Tempest seems to be immune to fatal curiostity.

      • Tylenol will indeed kill cats. And it will kill your cat.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 8, 2013

        Only if he eats it. And he is smart enough not to do that.

      • He can’t keep me from forcing it down his throat.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 8, 2013

        Liam, have you ever held down a cat? Let’s be a bit rational here!
        I think I was right about psychopath influences… you don’t need them.
        And I’m not sure want to know why my house was on your blog anymore. It has been relocated anyway, and I don’t want to lose my writing companion.

      • Self-defense.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 9, 2013

        You held down a cat in self-defense?

      • No, I would kill it in self-defense.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 9, 2013

        Look. Forget the cat. He says he refuses to attack you anyway, and that I’m crazy for reading the blog of what seems to be a budding psychopath… and then I reminded him that he is only a figment of my imagination. That setteled that. I just want to know how my house got onto your blog. Please?

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 9, 2013

        Wait half a minute! Are you saying that big, kitten eyes are one of your weaknesses? Why else would you need self-defense?

      • If it was a weakness, self-defense would be of no use. My weaknesses are weaknesses, not slight deviations from perfection.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 10, 2013

        Now you’re implying that you’re perfect.

      • On the contrary, I’m saying I’m not perfect, but severely flawed.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 10, 2013

        Oh. In what way?

      • “My weaknesses are weaknesses, not slight deviations from perfection.”
        This states clearly that my weaknesses are not slight deviations from perfection– which means I don’t see myself as nearly perfect. I say that my weaknesses are complete flaws. This means I see myself as having weaknesses and flaws. That counteracts the idea of perfect.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 10, 2013

        I was trying to trick you into giving away your weaknesses.

      • One weakness is fsdfljoiblkldksjfs jfsiodjflkxcnv kjsdhfu jm,knggfvbhnmm,

        Sorry– my guard penguin is very good at keeping me from spilling secrets.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 10, 2013

        Your weakness is banging your head on the keyboard when you’re frustrated! Admit it!
        You have a guard penguin? Is he the one who waddled out and explained that you were dead the whole time back in the other comments?

      • Yes, yes he was. And he was the one smashing my head into the keyboard.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 11, 2013

        And I thought being scolded by my cat was bad…

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 11, 2013

        Kinda makes you wonder who’s in charge.

      • I am in charge, but my penguin has privileges.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 11, 2013

        Wait. It’s a privilege to push your head into a keyboard?

      • It’s a privilege for him that he gets to do it without being beheaded on the spot.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 11, 2013

        Ah! I see. But I wonder what goes into a promotion for your minions?

      • Chocolate cake. They love chocolate cake.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 12, 2013

        Ah. You make me wish I worked for you. Tempest loves chocolate, but is severely allergic.

      • We aren’t hiring at the moment– my apologies.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 13, 2013

        That’s okay. I probably can’t afford the commute.

      • I doubt you could.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 13, 2013

        From 0922 Hobbit Lane, Mithril Valley to… wherever you live… too expensive for a currently unpublished author.

      • Indeed. And we aren’t hiring anyway.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 13, 2013

        So… I can’t become the person who has privledges like the penguin?

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 13, 2013

        Why did you hire a penguin? Was he, like, an old friend of the family, or do you have a fondness for penguins?

      • I actually inherited him. Stupid will.

        And no, you can’t have those privileges.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 14, 2013

        Okay… so which of your late relatives had a penguin?
        Rats!

      • No, just the penguin– no rats. Not after the spaghetti incident.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 14, 2013

        What person had the penguin first, and what in all of Living Earth was the spaghetti incident?

      • The relative was Bob, and the spaghetti incident was Bill. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 14, 2013

        I think we all have those kind of relatives… or we are such.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 14, 2013

        You’re not planning to give me the details of the incidents, are you?

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 14, 2013

        😦

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 14, 2013

        Of course you take delight in not giving me explainations.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 14, 2013

        Of course.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  February 15, 2013

        And that is the signal to end the comment train. Thank you and good night.

  11. Gorthalon

     /  February 5, 2013

    Noe you mention it, when you blog, quite a lot of it sounds like something Artemis would have said in the earlier part of the series.

    Reply
  12. This is so true! 9/10ths of the time, when I’m feeling down, it’s because I make myself feel that way. The things that get me down are not really that bad: I make them bad.

    So thanks, it’s fantastic to have a post like this! Any time I want to be gloomy it will be a lot harder.

    (and the idea of four-hundred kids playing music together is amazing…)

    Reply
  13. Indeed, you’re right! 😀 Lovely post.

    Reply
  14. I honestly wish I could like this twice. Great post-I just need to, you know, follow it.

    Reply
  15. Robyn Hoode

     /  February 22, 2013

    Thought of a book you should read… but you probably already have. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! Not necessarily a psychopath influence. Might encourage insanity though. But we’re all already insane, so that doesn’t matter much. 🙂

    Reply
  16. *Is going through really old email and randomly decides to read this post.*

    Great post! In one episode of WE, Dan Wells mentions a saying his dad had that was something about “Cheerful flexibility.” I think the gist of it was being willing to put up with changes in the plan with a cheerful attitude. I actually have a similar mantra, “Cheerful patience”, in which I try to be cheerful even though humanity dared interfere with my schedule, and wait out what it through at me. Doesn’t always work, but… *shrugs.*

    Reply
    • Cheerfulness is good. I’ve been learning recently that it’s really your mindset that rules your moods– it doesn’t matter what happens to you, you’re either optimistic or pessimistic by choice, not by necessity.

      Reply
      • Excellent point. My dad listened to a TED talk once about the concept of “fake it ’til you make it,” and I think that fits in with this. Choose to be optimistic, act optimistic even if you don’t feel optimistic, and it’ll rub off.

        It occurred to me that I read this post just at the right time. I’m taking the SAT on Saturday, and am kinda freaking out. Staying optimistic may help me get over that and make the whole experience better.

      • But only fake it ’til you make it if you can start faking it without dying. For instance, flying off of cliffs. It’s going to be hard to fake that more than once.

        Good luck! I hope you do well.

      • What? You’re saying you don’t know how to pull a Sherlock and fall with out dying? Get with the times.

        Thank you!

      • Well, I wasn’t saying me in particular, but other people might not know how to pull a Sherlock. Other people. Not me.

      • Of course, you have dragons to go ad fetch/swallow you when you take a nose-dive from a high altitude. I should get me some dragons.

      • Indeed. They’re terribly useful.

  17. So does this mean my random “hehe”s really aren’t that bad?

    Reply

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