My pursuit of happiness: Getting off the couch

Fitting for a holiday weekend where Americans celebrate their freedom and embrace their collective history (particularly military history) NPR aired a story on how fewer people are participating in civil war reenactments. Among the reasons are costs and time along with a lack of interest from the next generation.

“There just aren’t as many kids that are, you know, finding re-enacting as an enjoyable hobby. That’s one of the things that concerns a lot of us,” said Dana Shoaf, the editor of Civil War Times magazine.

“Also, there are so many more entertainment options now,” reporter Gigi Douban explained. “Playing a historical computer game can give someone a battle fix from an easy chair. Now, even vendors are doing their part to lure people off their sofas. They usually set up shop at re-enactments, selling everything from suspenders to bayonets.”

Now, I’ve never been part of an historical reenactment but I fail to believe that playing a computer game can give one the same fix as being part of an actual battle reenactment, just as I fail to believe that playing Guitar Hero is akin to performing on stage or that any of the EA Sports series gives a similar experience to actually playing the game.

Having a hiking adventure at Zoar Valley to celebrate Independence Day

This is not an anti-technology rant. I love technology. Hello. I’m writing and distributing my own blog and using social media and generally living my life through the help of many virtual worlds. But I’m not stuck in a virtual world. I’m out and about being and doing. Granted, sometimes I need a rest, a recovery and a good Law & Ordermarathon or replay of today’s action in the Tour de France. Sometimes I want to curl up on my couch and read away from everyone else in the world. Sometimes I need to retreat. To be quiet and still or to sit solidly in the middle of my comfort zone.

There was a time when I made my home in the middle of my comfort zone. And while it had its advantages, it was, quite frankly, boring and frustrating. Then I started to engage with life. I started to try new things. I took a yoga class. I signed up for a charity walk. I volunteered at a soup kitchen. The key was to allow myself to explore. I didn’t need to commit my life to any one pursuit, but by getting out and engaging in activities which interested me, I created a entire new set of possibilities for my life.

Over the holiday weekend, I often heard parts of the Declaration of Independence quoted. My favorite sentiment is that we all have “certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Sure, for some people liberty and the pursuit of happiness are best found on the couch or in front of a computer screen. But as for me?  My idea of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness lead me to long bike rides, adventurous hikes and time spent with family and friends.

What does your pursuit of happiness look like? Where does it lead you? And where else could you go if followed your passion on a daily basis? My guess is that where it leads, it will be somewhere off the couch.


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