Lucky as Lou

Grading time again. Best way to learn? Practice, practice…

“Mature” learners, like those I’ll be meeting Monday in my Lifelong Learning class on happiness, know that practice counts.

They (unlike Calvin) also know that “youth’s a stuff that won’t endure,” and that “to see the daylight still under any conditions” makes us lucky as Lou Gehrig. He died at 38, had a horrible disease named for him, and considered himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

Lou knew. We’re all lucky and, happiness researchers confirm, happier when we know it. Happy people are grateful to be alive. They treasure their good health for as long as it lasts, and turn it into gratifying experience. Many of them practice gratitude, some even keep a gratitude journal. I guess that’s kinda what this blog is, though I sometimes use it to complain about politicians and ungrateful students.

What else will I tell my mature students on Monday? For one thing, that happy people know what they know, but don’t pretend to know it all. They’re Socratically humble and self-effacing. They live and learn, remaining always open to new possibilities and perspectives. I probably don’t need to tell them that. I’m looking forward to learning from them. I always do.

And the happiest mature people know that so-called little things matter a lot, like Grandpa at the softball game last night with Coach’s toddler. He couldn’t stop effusing over how smart and cute and clever she is. It’s when we stop to look and appreciate the promise of the next generation that we really get it: “Oh, but the long, long time the world shall last,” after we’re gone.

6 am/5:58, 66/86/57

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