What was your favorite thing to do at age ten?

Illustration by Leona
An illustration I did a few years back for a collection of stories about the life and influence of Baha'u'llah, the Founder of The Baha'i Faith.

Gretchen Rubin in her insightful book “Happiness Project” talks about pursuing your passion and doing what you love, as being an extension of what you loved doing at the age of ten. “Whatever your passion might be, happiness research predicts that making time for a passion and treating it as a real priority instead of an “extra” to be fitted in at a free moment (which many people practically never have) will bring a tremendous happiness boost. What you enjoyed doing as a ten-year old, or choose to do on a free Saturday afternoon, is a strong indication of your passion.”

When I was ten I drew all the time, even during classes, to the chagrin of my teachers, though I never really got in trouble for it, but eventually went on to major in Art in College. I remember singing all the time too back then and putting the poems in the back of my third grade reader to music just for fun.

In third grade I was singled out to be in what was then called “Special Arts” classes.  These were usually reserved for kids in the fourth grade! We met during math period once a week, which is probably why I never did very well with math!

My very first day in “Special Arts” class I sat next to the only other person from the third grade, a boy who had also been chosen to be in the class. I remember that he drew an airplane with great percision, and left alot of white space around it on the huge piece of paper he was working on.

I thought it was beautiful and in my mind was comparing my own messy drawing to his, when he asked the Art teacher for watercolors to paint it in. She proceeded to tell him that if that’s all he could do then he could leave the class, and she made him leave! Needless to say I was sure I’d be kicked out too, since I had no self-confidence in my art whatsoever. I just loved to draw! I never got asked to leave and continued in “Special Art” class on through the 4th, 5th, 6th grade. I don’t remember the teacher really teaching us anything though, she just seemed to supply the materials, and we got to draw and paint! And that was good enough for me at the time!

When I was in fifth grade I got to sing in a chorus made up of all the fifth grades in town, and we got to sing on a local TV show. In sixth grade I helped write the class song-mostly rewriting the words to "The Man on the Flying Trapese"!

When I was sixteen I still loved drawing, but I also wanted to play the guitar and asked my folks for a guitar for my birthday and got it! I was so delighted. My birthday was in February and there was a big snow storm that day so I got to stay home from school and teach myself how to play guitar out of a book. I was able to play a bunch of songs by the end of the day!

One time a few years ago someone, who I guess meant well, said to me that I shouldn’t do art AND music but should choose between the two. Somehow I let that bother me a lot, though I never told the person. Art and Music have always been my twin first loves and will always be!

To learn more about the Happiness Project Click here: http://gretchenrubin.com/


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