Self-Deprecating Musings on Happiness and Intensity

Dear English-B Interpreter Friends,

(First, my letter to you to using words from Post #12)

Someone told me this week that I pepper my generally high-tension approach to life with isolated moments of extreme relaxation. She was angling for me to object (which would have been proof enough of her point). But I just laughed, accepted the observation with a sanguine nod and asserted that, a few weeks shy of my 37th birthday, I was not likely to change. That I’d honed this “work hard, play hard” attitude to a T.

In all fairness, playing hard really means anything I do that is in full opposition to my one-track-minded way of working (which, on account of how I sway when I study or how I voluntarily subject myself to working in a coffin-like interpreting booth, could probably be tagged as some neurodevelopmental disorder on the obsessive-compulsive spectrum). I love my crazy job, but I’d snap if it weren’t for the regular breaks I take for unwinding. Unlike my very rigid and rooted work featuring words, newspapers, books, radio and thinking, thinking, thinking, my time off is imbued with a sense of the sublime and very little talking: hiking above the clouds, running over mountain trails and reaching out to clasp the rampant brush, walking across a bitingly cold ocean of white crystals on a salt marsh, crewing an ultra marathon, feeding my sprightly little nephew his bottle, listening to a great cello player while blocking out everything else, feeling the earth pulse at a music festival, and so on.

To this person’s astute observation, I asserted that I was not likely to change, but I walked away thinking just why I shouldn’t. What actually holds me (or anyone) back from pursuing the opposite: unguarded relaxation interrupted with only occasional strain?

And with that thought, I bring you this week’s big booth words, all culled from a single article entitled “What would you pay to be happy?

Happy words,

— all as used in the article “What would you pay to be happy?

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