Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The 2009 Live Oaks Awards, Part 1

I have had a very good year. I didn't meet all of my goals, but I never do. I always want to accomplish more than I can. That doesn't discourage me, but drives me forward, trying to cram more into each precious year. Over the next three days I will present some of the highlights of my year.

Happiness Journal
At the beginning of the year I started keeping a Happiness Journal. Each day I write down three things that brought me pleasure. These ranged from significant accomplishments--such as having an article published in The Objective Standard--to the mundane--such as cooking a particularly enjoyable meal. But this exercise reminded me, each day, how much enjoyment life offers. And when I did not have a good day, it also reminded me that even the worst of times can hold nuggets of joy if one chooses to focus on the positive.

My Wife's Train Set
My wife received her first train set--the North Pole Express--for Christmas this year. It was a gift from her daughter and son-in-law, and I will admit that I thought it was a strange gift. But after my wife set it up, and beamed with delight as the train chugged around the track, I realized that it wasn't so strange after all. Even though the train set is recommended for children aged 3 to 6, her reaction showed me (once again) that one is never too old to delight in some of life's simple pleasures.

Fantasy Football
For a long time I thought fantasy football was a silly activity--until I tried it last year. I did not expect to do well, and thoroughly lived up to that expectation. But I enjoyed the experience and had fun plotting strategies and player moves. I also found that by being more interested in particular players and their opponents each week my enjoyment of the NFL also increased. This year my team--named for the alter ego of one of my cats--won its league. Vince Lombardi once said, "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." I don't agree with that sentiment, but winning is certainly more fun than losing.

OPAR Study Group
In March I began hosting a study group for Leonard Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. Based on a similar study group I had hosted shortly after the book was published, I expected us to take about a year to go through the material. After nine months, we are approximately one-third of the way through the book. This slow "chewing" of the ideas has greatly enhanced my understanding of the philosophy. Perhaps most enjoyable has been renewing old friendships and developing new ones through our discussions.

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