04 September 2011

Trifecta Days

I've taken a few philosophy classes over the years, both as an undergrad and during my graduate studies. And I've always enjoyed them. I guess I like the big questions: What is reality? How do people learn? Why are we here? Is there a God?

But, for whatever it's worth, despite my interest in the Big Questions, I've still always kinda had this idea that the vast majority of big-name philosophers spent way too much of their time over-analyzing the Sublime.  And, as a result, I think they failed to make many really valid attempts at better understanding the mundane, life as it is, on the ground, day-to-day. To me, rather than asking, Why are we here? an even better question, with just as many potentially deep philosophical portents, is: What should I do today?

As laypeople, it rarely gets much deeper than that for most of us anyway.

I was thinking about this the other day as I was riding my bike in the woods. As I was riding along I was thinking: All I really want to do is ride my bike. Why can't i just ride my bike all-the-time? Which, when I'm riding my bike is pretty much how I always feel.

In reality, of course, it's not a completely true thought though, is it? There are obviously plenty of other things I love to do, too.  Plus there are all the people that I love. And they figure into this equation pretty heavily as well.

And then there's altruism, huh?  The whole idea: What could I do for others today?  Oh. Yeah.  Riiiight.  Nearly overlooked that.

But this really isn't a post about altruism.  It's about a much more selfish ideal.  The ideal that asks-and-answers the simple proposition: What does it really take to have a Really Good Day?

(Just so you know: I'm not going to feel guilty right now, wrestling with the rightness and wrongness of this line of thinking.  We'll save that for another time.)

So, What makes A Really Good Day? Well, it occurs to me that the Very Best Days often, if not always, contain three similar elements. On the Very Best Days I:
  • A) spend real time with the people I love.
  • B) do something I'm passionate about.
  • C) indulge in something. Usually something that's rather pointless or frivolous.
On my Very Best Days, I achieve this rare Trifecta Of Selfishness, via any number of self-serving, self-satisfying means.  I could A) go on a hike in the woods with my family; B) spend the morning turning around runs at Snowbowl; and C) stop at the DQ and buy a large Mocha Moolatte.

Or I could A) go for a drive with my wife and daughter around town after dinner in the Bug with the top down; B) take a series of pictures of my kid playing with the dogs in the backyard; and C) spend an hour before bedtime wrenching on my bikes in the garage.

Or whatever.  You get the idea.

They're suuuuper selfish.  I get that.  And these sorts of days, they do very little for others.  I get that, too.  But still, despite their indulgence, and the selfishness of it all, I've got to admit: I absolutely love my Trifecta days.  


Unknown said...

Just think about all that you are giving the world by doing what makes you happy. If you weren't doing what makes you happy then maybe you'd be a real maniac and you would cause problems for the rest of the world. I'm not saying taking care of your own happiness should be the end all be all, but it's definitely not doing anything wrong.
I think it's the least anyone should do. I used to dwell in my unhappiness as much as possible and I know I didn't do anybody any good. I was a full on rascal. Besides, you're a teacher, isn't altruism rolled into your job? I used to be a nurse and that was my thinking about my job, it's good for society and I make a living.

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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Ed Abbey