October 7, 2010

Thank You for Smiling

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About a month ago, close to the beginning of the semester, when I still dared to not wear a jacket to school, on a bright, sunny day, as I was walking back home, happy about something I don’t particularly remember and daydreaming about this and that, (isn’t recursiveness a lovely thing?), a man walking in the opposite direction looked at me for about three seconds before saying, “Has anyone told you you’re beaming today? Thank you for smiling.”

Maybe I was, I don’t remember. But it is true that this comment made my day, and, in a certain way, my month, considering I’m still writing about the encounter. There is something inherently beautiful about someone saying something nice when you’re not expecting it. If you got to stop by or hear about Gratitude Day a couple weeks back, an event designed to express gratitude around you (there were thank you cards that you could send all over the world and stuff … pretty cool), you maybe had the good fortune to receive one of their pay-it-forward cards that were given at the table in Willard Straight. The idea was to pass the card on after doing what the card asked you to do, may it be giving a compliment to a stranger, holding the door for someone coming in, calling a friend to say how much they mean to you or something of that sort. I hear it was a great success, with people passing the cards on and on (anyone watch the Pay it Forward movie? soooo good!). But I digress.

My point being, there is enough compelling evidence to say that expressing and receiving gratitude is a good way to lighten up your mood. There is also reason to believe that the more joy you pass around, the more you get back. So, in the interest of lightening up my otherwise too socially active columns for this semester, I will choose to not dwell on the nasty things I could talk about (like my laptop dying on me a couple days back to the point where I now have to either buy a new one or go without one until Christmas, the M.I.A. concert being so bad it was probably the lamest purchase I’ve ever made at Cornell, the no-no for Cornell’s Concert Commission for having guards that do not let you go out to smoke and come back in, making the whole thing feel sadder than middle school or grad school applications being so overwhelming I’m seriously considering just not applying altogether). Instead I’m going to try and see if I feel refreshed by thanking random people for their awesomeness.

There is a TCAT bus driver that actually stops and lets people on when they’re running towards the bus. An extra five seconds for us inside still beats the 10 to 15 minutes the runners would miss from class. So thank you for that. We all love you.

There is a business professor that comes to work out at Teagle, where I work, around the same time every day. He has taken to making sure he shows me his ties. He says he has one for every school day of the year… and they are incredibly cute. They make my morning every time. Also, to the rest of the people in the issue room that come by and say hi, thank you.

There is a professor who I took class with last year and now take notes for, that reads this column often and has started calling me by my pen name instead of by the name by which I usually present myself. Thank you for both the awesome lectures and the readership.

Thanks for the people at Trillium that offer mushroom soup. I have talked about this before. The best single thing on Cornell Dining’s menu. Makes me so happy every time I have it.

Thanks to the law student that read my last column and that wrote a novel-long-e-mail on affirmative action on a Saturday night. It’s so meaningful to know that my ramblings actually start those conversations. For that matter, thanks to you for reading!

If I go on any longer, I will start thanking everyone I know for something, so I’ll stop now. But I want you to try something now that we’re all (thankfully!) leaving for break. Give us all a smile. If you don’t smile for no reason often, try it out this week and come to campus with a brand new smile to share. If you already smile often and people can see that as you’re walking down the street from one class to another, thank you for smiling. You probably already made someone’s day today.

Florencia Ulloa is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She may be reached at [email protected]. Innocent Bystander appears alternate Fridays this semester.

Original Author: Florencia Ulloa