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  • Nick McDonald

Planting isn't the Fun Part.



I was listening this morning to a podcast about Tom Hanks, the perennial everyman, the Nice Guy, the golden boy. I wanted - like we all do - for the podcast to take a darker turn, but it did not. The Interviewer tried, but could not find an angle. It was a boring, uneventful, fairly mediocre podcast, but it also brought me delight.


I’ve noticed this about good things. They are mediocre at the time, small things. But they grow like seeds and wild vines and sprawl all over. Other things - the selfish things - are explosive, colorful, and momentary.


I’m told physiologically there’s a difference between pleasure and happiness. Pleasure is signaled by a rush of dopamine to the brain, an addictive cycle that creates dependence and the need for the next hit and diminishing returns. Happiness is signaled by serotonin, which sits in the brain and expands its capacity, grows, spreads exponentially, seeps like syrup into waffle squares until the whole thing is caked.


So I wrote down three boring acts of generosity for today. Planting seeds is not exciting, but watching them grow is the stuff of life.

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