My Way / Shane Stewart

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My Way / Shane Stewart

photo by D. Crickets

photo by D. Crickets

photo by D. Crickets

Shane Stewart, Guest Writer

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I love chocolate.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot of adjectives.  I’ve used a lot of adjectives, in writing and in speech.  I’ve been called a lot of adjectives, both positive and negative, and invented some, too, I think.  But one of my favorites has always been “cheerful.” Or its synonyms, like “joyful” and “merry.” Being cheerful is simple, really — it doesn’t really require any action, as other adjectives do, words like “loyal” or “helpful.”  All you have to do, really, is smile.

But I think the real reason I view this as one of my favorite adjectives is that it is fun — and contagious.  When I am feeling cheerful, it usually doesn’t take too much to make others feel that way, too. And if I put a smile on someone’s face, it feels better than just about anything else in the world.

I really can’t see any reason why people aren’t cheerful just about all the time.  Sure, life throws obstacles at us. Sure, we go through hard times. But being happy can only make the low points in life better.  Of course, I cannot possibly claim to never experience sadness or any other of the wide range of emotions, but over the years I continue to strive for the perfect level of optimism.  Crying and rage can be healing, even beneficial, but for the most part the more cheerful a person is the better their life seems.

About a year ago, I came up with a joke, which goes as follows: What do you call it when two giraffes have a height contest but neither wins?  A neck tie!

Yes, I know this is a stupidly simple joke and has probably been made in the past, but the day I came up with this joke I was incredibly proud.  I went around telling this to everyone at school — in fact, I’m sure that some of my best friends heard it at least 10,000 times within a week of its creation.  But every time I said it, it inspired some sort of positive reaction, whether it was a kind recognition of a decent pun or just a smile at how many times I repeated it.  At the very least, it never made anyone’s mood worse (as far as I know).

And that’s what the goal was.  It was just a tiny way to spread cheer.  Granted, giving a person a chocolate bar would make them much happier, but giving presents out every day to everyone is impractical.  That’s why I live by the philosophy that everything a person does, everything a person says, is a present to those affected. So I think everything done and everything said should be based in happiness.

Even when I’m alone, being cheerful is like giving myself a chocolate bar.

And I love chocolate.