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by Dave Markwell

It’s 11:00 at night and I am currently sitting in a hotel a stone’s throw away from Disneyland…the happiest place on earth. As my daughter screams at my son in an over-tired fit of psychosis, I am thinking it better be pretty damn happy tomorrow. Due to this long-overdue family vacation, I did not write a new column this week. I am, however, choosing a very nice…I think…repeat from the early FGF archives…I forgot I wrote this one… and I’m glad I did. I hope you are, too. Happy Feel Good Friday.

– Dave

On a warm and sunny, mid-September, Tuesday evening, I sat very redneckish, drinking beer in my driveway with my buddy, Dan. We had camping chairs set up and our feet on a cooler. I make no pretense about owning even a small sense of refinement. I am quite happily borderline classless and it is very natural for me. I require very little to achieve joy. I am a simple man with simple pleasures. I might add that Dan did not look too uncomfortable, either.

I have learned many things over my years and understanding where my joy lies is probably the most valuable. I am happy in little moments. I have certainly enjoyed fairly lavish vacations in exotic lands. I have traveled and seen and experienced much. I have enjoyed the adventures and new places and faces. However, I have not enjoyed them more than sitting at my picnic table in the sun with a couple of old buddies and maybe my son, playing cribbage and telling bad jokes. These days do not require much more than a couple of phone calls to occur. No months of planning or itinerary debate, merely a small effort and fun is at hand!

Muddying the waters of my simple existence is a complex world; a world filled with nuance and expectation. I am often confounded and sometimes feel a bit out of step. I care a lot about moments and lack a lot of foresight regarding consequence. I enjoy the day and figure the future will work itself out. I am sometimes wrong and sometimes right, with no clear winner either way. This may seem a bit immature, though I make no claims to maturity and would not place a bunch of dough down on me arriving there anytime soon. I’ll settle for my wide-eyed, extended adolescence and, in fact, I embrace it. I have seen a lot of very mature, very miserable people. This scares me. I am in no hurry to get there, but, we’ll see how it goes. Time will tell as it always does about these things. Time always tells.

One thing I am certain of is that today was a good one and I can’t imagine anything that would inspire me to alter it. We are allowed a finite number of days to enjoy and we waste plenty. When the rare, beautiful ones hit, we must take them, cherish them and live them. These are the rewards. This is life. So, is life, recognizing the moments that count and counting them. We write our own ticket and have the absolute power to decide how we spend our time. Spending it with our friends and families and the people that create the easy smiles seems like time well spent and a guarantee that life will be good. I have yet to discover anything else more important to me. If it exists and I find it, I will be very excited, because it will have to be pretty awesome to beat a late summer day in the sun with a good buddy, drinking beer in the driveway!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his new exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]

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