“Do you think I’m stupid?”
Aaron’s question broke the silence, and caused Holly to almost drop her coffee. It was a peaceful Sunday morning along the river, and the best friends were seated on their favorite bench.
“What kind of a question is that?” she asked as she turned to him.
“I’m guessing a stupid one,” he replied and took a long sip of his Snapple.
Holly took a deep breath and tried to figure out what was going on with Aaron. She had been okay with the silence because he tended to be moody, but she didn’t like when he spoke poorly of himself.
Aaron shrugged. “I haven’t been happy lately, so I’m questioning my intelligence level. I mean, how difficult is it to figure out how to lead a happy life?”
He had a point, Holly thought as she took a sip of her coffee.
“Okay, so what makes you happy?” she challenged.
“Writing, watching the Yankees, reading a good book, relaxing on the front porch, binge watching a show that not only entertains me, but also inspires me to write, intriguing conversation, good food, being in a relationship, and spending time with you. I purposely put you last just to mess with you.”
He smiled, which caused her to smile.
“Well thank you for taking the time to mess with my head while I try to deal with your problem,” she scolded him with a kind smile. “It sounds like so many things make you happy.”
“Exactly my point,” he responded. “If the list is so long, why am I rarely happy? Why do I insist on filling my days with activities that cause stress and make me unhappy?”
“I think what it comes down to is we don’t actually have much say as to how we live our lives,” Holly answered as she took a long look out at the river. “I could sit here for hours and absolutely love this view and enjoy your company, but if I want to keep a roof over my head and food on the table, I’ve eventually got to leave this happy place and go to work.”
“That’s the rub…” Aaron lamented with a heavy sigh.“The smart people are the ones who find time for the things that make them happy, despite the pull of the unfulfilling activities that dominate their daily schedule,” Holly waxed philosophic.
“But if I were really intelligent, wouldn’t I figure out how to write full time so that I’d be happy on a regular basis?” he countered. “Wouldn’t I spend more time watching the Yankees and reading, rather than fretting about all the little things in life that drive me up the wall?”
“Not necessarily,” Holly replied confidently. “You have very little control over the circumstances life presents to you. What you need to do is find happiness wherever you can. It’s a stupid person who would give up on that concept and simply allow life to dictate his every move and mood.”
Aaron squinted slightly like he was really looking at her and trying to absorb what she was saying.
Finally, he smiled and turned his attention to the river.
“I guess I mustn’t be that stupid if I’m smart enough to keep someone like you around to answer all my pressing philosophical questions,” he told her with a smile.
“I do what I can,” she replied with a shrug. “The question is, of course, will continuing to do that make me happy?”
He rolled his eyes and they both laughed.