100 Theme Challenge: #14 Smile

For a lack of anything better to write about, I fall back on my trusty 100 theme challenge topics, this one being #14, smile (something a Mr. Carl D’agostino should know a thing or two about, if the title of his blog is any indication). I suppose this ought to be an easy one, as I’m not sure what else needs to be said about such a thing. I typically try to think (alliteration?) of something slightly more creative, but as of right now…I can’t. Smiles make me think of happy things (but they, ironically, also make me think of Wal-Mart…), like “raindrops on roses” (and any other flower, I guess, or perhaps just all flora) and “whiskers on kittens” (and otters), and I guess I can just write this post about things that make me happy. Aside from the things already listed.

But, that’ rather boring, isn’t it? You already know what makes me happy, don’t you? Gaming and blogging and fan fiction writing, not to mention my newer hobby, cosplay. Cosplaying? So instead, this post will focus on a new way to BE happy that I just learned about. It’s something I’m sure is quite obvious to most, but it’s something that used to clash with my personality, and thus, wasn’t often employed.

I’ve learned how much better it is to slow down (but not while driving…well, only if you’re speeding or a cute animal’s on the road, but you can’t be going at a slug’s pace, either, because that kind of slow is no good). I very likely have a type A personality, so I’m often not very laid back. At home, I am, and I can lie around and do nothing and have a grand, old time of it. But, outside of the house, no matter what I’m doing, most of the time I just want to finish whatever it is and get back home. I go to the zoo, and then I spend the whole time rushing through so I can return home instead of just taking my time and enjoying it. Zoos aren’t supposed to be fun! Stop staring at that alpaca! Let’s move it and get over to the zebras! We’re behind schedule as it is!

I did this in many places that could’ve otherwise been delightful, and I did a fine job of ruining them when I could have been relaxing and having fun. Really, one of the only places I can spend any prolonged period of time without getting antsy is the comicon, and it was at this very comicon that I learned something very important. The last time I went, I had to stick around far longer than I usually do because of the masquerade. As much as I love the comicon, no way would I normally stay there until 11 PM. But, this time, I had no choice, and I thought the day would be a rather long one indeed, and I decided that I’d just suffer through it, for the sake of the masquerade, and then never do it again.

To my delight, this day didn’t end up being boring at all (well, waiting in lines a lot was boring, but that happens, and at least I got to stand in line dressed as Kefka, which I have the strangest feeling I couldn’t get away with anywhere else). In fact, since I knew I had to stay, I was able to force myself to really relax and just take my time. I strolled quite leisurely about the exhibition hall, and then once I saw everything, I strolled around it again, wandering aimlessly wherever I pleased. The day went by much faster than I expected, and though I spent far more time there than I ever have before, it wasn’t enough. I wanted more. I had so much fun just taking my time, that I seriously think I could spend several days there and just, in my poor attempt at being cool, chill. Yes, I really think I could even go so far as to sit on a random bench and just watch the people in their costumes walk by and have a great time just doing that. You don’t need to be home to have fun, I’ve learned, which, in the past, used to be quite a hard thing for me to grasp.

Putting that idea into practice, I then tried my hand at an aforementioned example, the mighty zoo (or menagerie, if I wanted some more alliteration). A few weeks after the most gleeful comicon of my life, my mom and I decided to go to the zoo, and we, that’s right, we chilled. We chilled so hardcore. We normally can rush through the zoo in two hours. This time, we spent five, just ambling about and looking at whatever we pleased, and we even did something unheard of before our pre-rushing days. We just sat there. We weren’t even looking at animals. We just sat on a bench and drank warm soda (I would have preferred it to be cold, but I suppose I should’ve expected an outdoor vending machine in the middle of summer to offer beverages that would be less than refreshing), and then, after looking at all God’s creatures, great and small, for a time longer, we then sat about in one of the buildings where you get snacks, and we ate hotdogs (my meal included crisps, which is British for chips) and treats (she got cotton candy, and I got some ice cream cone thingy).

And in the past, this would’ve driven me mad. I normally wouldn’t have been able to stand such idle time when I could’ve been in my own house. A few times, I did start to get antsy, and then I smote (I think that’s the past-tense of smite) that thought and returned to my…chillaxing. That’s right. I said it. I’ll even say it again, too. Chillax. (And according to my spell check, that is, in fact, a real word.) I chillaxed. We chillaxed. I think everyone should…chillax.

Okay, I’ll stop now.

But, seriously, we had such a great day just taking our time and being the slowest pokes around, and I found out how much more fun you can have if you just slow down. Many things I do, I don’t enjoy, because I rush through them. Not even just going places, but hobbies, as well. I rush through drawings and stories and even video games, but why? Why do something if you don’t enjoy the process? Why start a video game if you’re just going to try to finish it as quickly as possible? How fun is it once it’s over? Not much. And thanks to those many hours I was forced to spend at this year’s comicon, I learned that, even if it really should’ve been a rather simple lesson.

Just enjoy life. (At least, the parts of it that are conducive to enjoyment.) Rushing is no fun, and it’s a habit I want to break. If you recall, I wanted to spend both Saturday and Sunday at the next comicon. If I feel like it, I might very well even spend every day there and just have a slow-paced, but awesome, time. It only comes along once a year, and I can be home the rest of the time. I learned that I need to enjoy all the good things that come along to their fullest. Because being slow gives you much more time to smile.

A Pokey Duck

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