Discovering Happiness: When Was The Last Time You Did a Cartwheel?

Cole Schafer Blog

I could tell by the single glossy circle of condensation that began to form at the base of my drink, that I had been typing away at my laptop for a long while now.

Dryness began to grab at my tongue. I lifted the cup, leaving behind its wet footprint on the stained oak table top of Starbuck’s cafe. Upon setting my cup back down, I stared at it a while, taking note of the condensation droplets that had begun creeping down its side.

‘Drunken Skiers’ I thought, the water droplets resembled that of drunken skiers… skiing and stopping, skiing and falling. Moving in such a way that a sober skier would not.

A belly full of warm whiskey, as I made my way down the face of some snowy mountain top actually didn’t sound so bad at the moment… I have always had the habit of taking life too seriously, and at the time I was experiencing quite a bit of stress over the future of my blog.

Right as I had this thought, I noticed a blur out of my peripheral. It was too fast to be any ordinary type of movement… I was sure I was either under attack by a coffee ninja or a violent blog critic, so I did what any 6 foot 2 inch man weighing in at 200 lbs would do, I flinched dramatically.

As I was slightly hunched to the side, dodging what I thought to be a flying object, I looked up to find nothing was there.

I then looked down -- Six feet away, a asian girl around the age of 5 years old, was staring up at me with two of the most adorable brown eyes I had ever seen. A pair of brown eyes that would put that browned eyed girl Van Morrison talks about to shame.

I was still slightly unsure as to what the hell was going on, but one thing was certain -- we had both scared the shit out of one another.

I’m sure to the onlooker, the image was pretty ridiculous. Tiny asian girl in purple flower t-shirt standing skeptically, as large asian man cowers in chair with hand protecting laptop.

I didn’t know what to say, I have never been particularly good with kids. So, I regained my composure and looked around to find the parent to the little asian ball of energy. I noticed that her mom was actually talking with the barista, her back turned to us.

The tiny asian child read my mind, because her eyes followed mine to the back of her mother. Seeing that the coast was clear, she turned back towards me and began to raise her arms skyward.

She then executed two kick-ass cartwheels, followed by a flying heel kick.

I couldn’t decide what surprised me more -- that the blur that scared the living hell out of me was caused by a cartwheel, or that this girl was doing a cartwheel in the middle of Starbucks as her mom was getting her afternoon coffee fix.

These thoughts escaped my mind as she spun around, with her hands still raised mind you, and proceeded to bow to her audience… me.

Still slightly shocked, I carried out my duty as the judge of the gymnastics contest, that just so happened to be taking place in Starbucks. I raised both hands, opening up my fingers as wide as possible, and mouthed the number “Ten” to her.

Pleased with how I scored her stunt, she gave me a great big toothless smile. She bowed once more for good measure, and then followed her mother out of the cafe. She skipped by several other coffee drinkers, with her shiny black ponytail swaying behind her, nearly whipping an older gentleman's spectacles clear off his face

My earlier embarrassment began to subside as I saw other people were just as taken aback as I originally was.

I finally laughed and then reflected, asking myself, when was the last time I did a cartwheel?

Happiness Is a Choice

Later that day, as I pulled into my driveway, I sat my backpack down in the bed of my truck. Like the tiny asian girl, I executed two kick-ass cartwheels, but with much less grace.

After nearly turning my ankle and feeling the blood begin to rush from my head, I couldn’t help but smile.

At that moment, I came to this conclusion that I want to share with you now.

Somewhere along the way we stop doing cartwheels, and we wonder why we stopped being happy.

All of us tend to take life a little too seriously at times, or at least I do. When I was a kid, I played, constantly. I was building make believe weapons out of tree limbs in the backyard with my two young brothers, ramping off make-shift ramps on my Mongoose Bike, and most importantly… doing cartwheels.

As we grow older we almost become obsessed with success, the grind and making something of ourselves. So much so, that somewhere along the way we stop doing cartwheels -- we stop being kids in a way.

I am a huge proponent of success, and I embrace the grind that gets you to where you want to be. But I think in a way our seriousness does us an injustice; with it we lose appreciation for the simpler things in life, the ability to imagine like we use to, maybe even the happiness that came along with being a kid.

I am not advising anyone to quit their job and start riding Razor scooters around their neighborhood, but I do think everyone needs to make a little more time for fun and the lighter sides of life.

When was the last time you did a cartwheel?

By Cole Schafer