Pleasure, Meaning and Engagement

Happiness is not a goal, it’s a by product. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

A lot of the research around happiness boils happiness down to these three things pleasure, meaning and engagement. So for something to make you happy it first needs to be pleasurable. It needs to be something that you find meaning in, and finally that what you do matters.

On my birthday one of my sisters posted the picture above, it’s a picture from six or seven years ago with both of my sister’s children. It was the first time I’d ever gotten them all together at once for a picture. My sister posted it with a comment that if you knew the story, you knew why this picture would be important to me.

It’s not a complicated story, but it is a story of happiness. I have always loved children, children are so amazing, they’re free flowing and open to madness and magic and kid logic is my all time favorite thing. Kid logic is when a munchkin strings together several accurate logical ideas to come to an absolutely insane conclusion. So for instance, if you tell a kid that drinking milk will make you bigger, they may look at you and tell you to stop drinking milk because you’re already too big. Of course they may mean too old, or they may mean too fat. 🙂

One of the best parts of my job is the time I get to spend interacting with the munchkins at our campus child development center. The other day a burnt lunch set off the fire alarm, when I showed up in the toddler room they surrounded me and all told me the story of the fire alarm all at once, it was hilarious and delightful.

The story of the picture above is simple happy story. I’ve never had children of my own. I often joke that I always wanted kids, just wasn’t keen on the wife and marriage idea. But that never came to be for me. One of the most important people in my early life, who I may or may not be named after depending on which day you ask my mother, was my Uncle Mikey. Technically my cousin, Uncle Mike also didn’t have kids and loved them He was the relative who had the cabin with the big pool and so we all spent a lot of time swimming and hanging out at Uncle Mike’s in the summer. In many ways my life has paralleled his. So my role as Uncle Mike is incredibly important to me and brings me great happiness.

Hanging with, talking to, buying presents for and looking out for my nieces and nephews is pleasurable to me. Being someone who is a resource and a guide to them is really meaningful to me and finally, it matters. We all needed, when we were growing up, someone other than our parents we could go to when we needed advice or help. My oldest nephew is about to go to college, he leaves next week and this week I got a thank you note from him for his graduation present, which included a bit of a life lesson lecture. The last phrase in the note was, I won’t let you down, what we do for our nieces and nephews matters.

I hope my friends, that you have things in your life that are pleasurable, have meaning and matter to you. ~ Rev Kane

About Michael Kane

Michael Kane is a writer, photographer, educator, speaker, adventurer and a general sampler of life. His books on hiking and poetry are available in soft cover and Kindle on Amazon.
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