By Don Campbell
Scott Anderson’s worldly stress comes from a simple “can’t”: He can’t say no.
A computer specialist at White Salmon’s Radcomp Technologies, Anderson is actively involved with the Stevenson community. A coach and referee, he also sits on or has presided over various boards, commissions and associations, and is now mayor elect of the town of 1,500 along the Columbia River.
Anderson’s not sure exactly from where that drive and activism comes, but says his dad was always big into Boy Scouts and the Knights of Pytheus, “So I was always around it, but apparently free time was not something that was allowed. Around here, the best part about a small town is if you’ve got something to say or if you’re unhappy about the way things are going, it’s as easy as getting off the couch, walking out the door and doing something about it. That’s the mentality I’m embracing.”
Staying busy doesn’t necessarily equate to happiness, Anderson offered, but he embraced Gorge Happiness Month because his work life is face-paced, and participating gave him a chance to be mindful of all he does.
Anderson’s touch point with the month-long celebration was Happiness coordinator Emily Reed, who had reached out to the editor of the Skamania County Pioneer in search of participants, and Anderson – who’s well known in the community – was recommended.
His participation over the 31 days actually reinforced many of the things he was already doing in his life. “Wrapping your head around taking a moment of silence,” he said, “and embracing happiness is an interesting concept. And helping strangers is something I do all the time and can make a big difference in the community.”
It took him a while to get to the website and the program, but says it’s been fruitful to “take charge of your happiness,” he said. “Focusing on happiness, the task at hand, like the website said, is 40 percent that you can control. And it’s good to remind yourself of that. It’s very helpful.”
He’s been less diligent than he thought he’d be at the beginning of the month about recording his results, and surmised it might be awkward to come up with an act of kindness of everyday. “To say ‘I’ll do this thing,’ then seek out the opportunity that normally just falls in line day to day, is not as easy as it sounds initially. But you look back over the month and realize and identify those moments weren’t necessarily on the calendar.”
Remembering to observe moments of silence, he said, was “probably the hardest part. My work environment is pretty fast faced. I multi-task to do more things at one time, so to take a moment of silence and also to mix in other things from the Happiness website, like the really cool one that suggested ‘What do you hear right now?’ was great.”
Anderson appreciated the opportunity to participate for the month. “It shapes the way you think,” he said. “Taking a moment to reflect is a great thing, and works to real effect.”