Wednesday, June 28, 2023


While writing Finding Kansas, I would give Dr. Cameron a copy of everything I had written the previous week and with the chapter entitled "Tomorrow" we had a lively debate. To all of my potential negatives he mentioned the potential positives. It was a grand battle of optimism vs. pessimism with neither side able to score a KO punch. Then, he asked, "What is there to fear with something positive?" I froze. I didn't know how to answer. Then, he asked, "Do you know what a positive emotion is?" I looked at him puzzled, and eventually had to answer, "no."

It's amazing what you can learn after you write something, and that's the lesson I learned from this chapter. We continued our conversation and he asked, "Right now, with you writing amazing pieces, how happy are you on a scale of 0-10?" The reason I liked writing was I bypassed this type of conversation, but on this question, I looked off into the corner of his office, and began to cry.

This was some intense pain I was experiencing. What was happiness? I tried to formulate a competent answer, and I said, "I... I don't think I know what positive emotions are beyond a 2. For negative emotions I'm either a 0, a 1, or a 10 as there's no middle ground, but for happiness... I don't know what that means."

It took more years and some more maturity, but I began to understand that, for me, happiness is being engrossed in my Kansas. I didn't understand this at a younger age because others seemed to attempt to define what happiness was for me. This is what happened is school, and with my peers as I really enjoyed learning about places, and memorizing states and capitals, but for some reason this was looked down upon by my classmates. The lesson learned was that my happiness wasn't really happiness which gave me a skewed look on it.

Happiness had been experienced all my life, but the ability to process it, understand it, and know after the fact simply wasn't there. Remember, whatever is now is forever which means if happiness isn't in the present, it never existed. This was how I viewed it and it took many tomorrows to understand this.

Tomorrow doesn't have the same chilling effect it used to. My obsessive viewing of the news has ceased. My fear of animal tragedies in the middle of the night has gone away. Tomorrow is now seen as a new day, a day filled with potential and, so often, one day closer to the next INDYCAR race.

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