When I entered the classroom where my AP conference was held last week, at the front of the room were two identical projection screens and a long whiteboard. On the board, the instructor had written on each side “On the left” and “On the right,” followed by lists of names. Some of them I recognized; many I did not. The instructor did not allude to these names the entire week, only once gesturing vaguely at them while talking about encouraging our students to read more good editorials to increase their understanding of argument. The names were:
“On the Left”
“On the Right”
As a subscriber to the Wall Street Journal and a fairly faithful follower of The Drudge Report, my political leanings are rather slanted. I’m familiar with all the names on the “Right” column. The only name on the “Left” list whom I’ve read was that of Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post; typically I read because Rush references something from the “Huffing and Puffington Post.” Obviously if I am to be a good English teacher, especially valuable to my often sheltered students, I should expose them to writers of many different viewpoints…especially those besides their own. One of my goals for my last blessed three weeks before school stuff really picks up is to start reading the works of some of the above listed people, so I can better share them with my students. Funny, it might just be good for me, too.
Anyway, on a vague tangent, I received an email from one of my college roommates over our Google group list. [We created it back in college so we could stop entering all 5 roommates’ emails when we had something cool to share. Now every so often, in a fit of nostalgia, we bust it out again.] She sent a link to a website called, simply, “Happier.” While I spent the first part of college on sites like FMyLife or, because we have to be pretentious, Harvard FML, we did not spend a lot of time focusing on what makes us happy. Instead, we waded through the mire of all that seemed to be wrong and hard in our lives. Today, Joan presented me with an alternative.
This wonderful happy website is a conglomeration of folks posting pictures and thoughts of things that brightened their day.* At the top of the page, the site boasted a short interview with none other than Arianna Huffington. She talked about what made her happy: spending time with her daughters, prioritizing sleep, and deciding that it was totally okay to drop projects that she never was going to get to (she called it “completing” them, as she still got to cross them off her list). Despite my views of some of the things she prints, I really liked these ideas and felt they were worth sharing with the blogosphere. Enjoy! Be happier!
*If you’d like a related book version, my mom highly recommends The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. “The Happiness Project synthesizes the wisdom of the ages with current scientific research, as Rubin brings readers along on her year to greater happiness.”