About an hour ago, I found myself huddled beneath blankets reading a book and taking notes on my bookmark as a requirement for my senior research paper which I will complete this academic semester. I could spend an entire blog post talking about that project—don’t worry, that will be another Wednesday—but today, I want to talk about the bookmark.
Growing up, I was the type of kid who only ate up their vegetables quicker than they did their books. Translation: I was—and still am—a total book worm (who was a rare healthy childhood eater). Because of this, I always received bookmarks as presents. There was even a brief period where my brother and I made “banana bookmarks” out of yellow construction paper—I believe stemming for an elementary school project of some sort.
However, for some reason, as I found myself checking out a plethora of library books these past few weeks, I’ve realized my puppy-themed bookmarks have remained at home, stuck inside the pages of the last Reader’s Digest I inherited from my Grandpa.
I feel like you can tell a lot about a person from their taste in literature and bookmarks
Regardless, I digress. When I needed a bookmark, I ripped a sheet of paper from a small notepad a friend had given to me back in October:
Let me start with the obvious: I love this notepad. Secondly, the best part about using a piece of paper as a bookmark is the ability to jot notes on it of pages you want to revisit or information you want to remember.
As I was wrapping up the final chapter of my book, I stopped to jot down one last thought. That’s when I, once again, read the inscription from the front of the notepad which is recreated on each page.
Happiness is different for everyone.
I had read that line countless times before, but I don’t think I had really read it. I thought about it. I put the book down. And I thought about it some more.
How many times have I run into conflict with a family member or friend because of differing opinions? Probably more times than I’m willing to admit. And what good does that do for anyone involved?
If you know me personally, you’ll know that I have big, crazy theories about seemingly unimportant, irrelevant things. For example: I believe that everything you can eat with a fork can be eaten easier with a spoon. The one possible exception to this rule is spaghetti. But think about it…yogurt, soup, lasagna, muffins, cereal, chicken parmesan…
Now obviously, this is a silly example. But simply put, eating things with spoons as opposed to forks makes me happy. So now for argument’s sake, let’s amplify the idea.
I dislike NASCAR. I don’t understand it. I’m highly uneducated on the topic and, personally, I see it as a giant waste of resources.
Now for someone else, NASCAR is everything. They live, breathe, and dream about car races. That is a life I cannot for the life of me imagine, but to somebody, that is joy.
And who am I to tell someone that their happiness is invalid?
As I was thinking about this idea, I thought of a famous quote that is never attributed to anyone in particular, but has always stayed with me nonetheless:
“Don’t judge others because they sin differently from you.”
This idea works on the opposite end of the spectrum as well. Everybody has things that bring them joy. Conversely, everybody has flaws and misjudgments and is riddled with problems. But who are we to judge someone when we have just as many skeletons in our own closets?
I guess the point of this post is to encourage understanding, acceptance, and tolerance. You may not respect somebody’s lifestyle and you may not understand the way they spend their time or energies—but you sure as heck have to treat them with respect and kindness.
This week, let’s not focus on others failings. Instead, let’s try to understand other “happies.” That just might make the world a little brighter and your eyes a little clearer.