BRENT STOLLER

Writer. Advice giver. Peanut butter and chocolate enthusiast.

30 Days of Joy: An Unexpected Pick-Me-Up

A young woman floating with an umbrella against a yellow wall

Note: This article is the next step in my challenge to find joy in something — anything — every day for 30 days. Today’s entry is part 21.

When I was in college, I frequently rode the campus shuttle bus between classes.

This is about as pedestrian an experience (or, truthfully, anti-pedestrian) as you can have.

But every so often, it was elevated into something more.

While most drivers were as thrilled to be there as I was to be going to Biology 301, there was one who didn’t seem to mind.

He always greeted you with a smile, and as he made his way between stops, he bobbed his head to his favorite beats. From wherever you were sitting, you could look to the front of the bus, at that central rearview mirror, and see he was singing along.

Here was a guy who literally drove around in circles all day, yet he was arguably the happiest person in the room.

In truth, I have no idea if he was happy or satisfied with where he was or what he was doing.

But I am convinced he was making the most of his present moment.

And not only did that brighten my day, it stuck with me, so much so that I still remember him — as well as one of the songs he karaoke’d — all these years later.

I was reminded of him today as I approached the entrance to my office building.

Just like in my college days, I’m not always thrilled to be headed where I’m heading.

I’d rather be on the golf course, or hanging out with friends, or sleeping in. (Only now it’s because I can’t get through the night without going to the restroom 1–7 times, not because I was out late drinking Keystone Light.)

But just like in my college days, my mood is occasionally lifted by a worker who would be easy to take for granted.

There’s a security guard, a middle-aged woman, who always appears to be the happiest person in the room.

And sure enough, as I opened the door this morning, she looked me in the eyes, smiled and asked how I was doing.

I couldn’t help but marvel, at both her greeting and good nature.

She was making the most of her present moment.

Which reminded me to do the same.

*****

This originally appeared on 100 Naked Words.

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