Dylan – The Happy Wrestler competes hard, challenges up and does so with a smile.
Can anyone truly be happy all the time?
Dylan seems to be.
Every time this writer researches her grappling matches, win, lose or the last time I saw her, draw (twice for crying out loud!), she always seems to be upbeat and in a good mood. When I covered a San Jose video shoot for a private wrestling company that produced women’s submission wrestling matches featuring Dylan, there she was again, smiling, polite and even deflecting an insult from another competitor after an awkward moment of silence.
In terms of her wrestling, Dylan is new to the San Francisco-San Jose women’s submission wrestling community probably cutting her grappling teeth about two years ago. She has taken on some experienced female competitors and is always in the struggle right up until the end.
This sincere continual elevating quality of happiness that Dylan possesses created a desire in me to at least seek a few answers as to why. If it’s in a pill, I’ll take it. If it’s in a bottle, I’ll drink it. If it’s in a half-eaten sandwich nibbled on by parties unknown, I’ll think about it.
What is happiness?
Some examples and definitions might help.
Wikipedia starts us off with a simple explanation. They state happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.
That is very simple but for me not comprehensive.
They must have thought the same for they continue: Happiness is a fuzzy concept and can mean many different things to many people. Part of the challenge of a science of happiness is to identify different concepts of happiness, and where applicable, split them into their components.
Related concepts are well-being, quality of life and flourishing. Some commentators focus on the difference between the hedonistic tradition of seeking pleasant and avoiding unpleasant experiences, and the eudaimonic tradition of living life in a full and deeply satisfying way.
Okay, for me this is one of the few times that simple is not better. I feel I’m getting closer with the later explanation. Here is why.
You’re in college and just finished taking the most important test of your college career and you passed with the grade of a C. Wow, Yippee! Wait a minute. You might feel happy if everyone else got a D or an F but what if you found out the entire class received an A+? Would you still feel happy now or even 6 months later?
Let’s keep going.
You are 48 years old. Could you be happy if your peers, siblings and in laws all lived in six bedroom homes in gated communities complete with borderless custom designed diamond crystal blue pools and an expansive view of the extended city skyline that sparkles at night during fine dining on beautiful imported granite (pause-whew) while you lived in a 2 bedroom apartment with a full view of your neighbor’s trash cans?
Why stop now?
You are 26 and live in a tradition bound culture. Your new marriage is one of financial convenience fraught with pressure from relatives. You tried to find the right mate for years and if you are honest, settled. Your spouse isn’t physically attractive but is internally sweet (weep).
Well good for you.
News travels fast. Your best friend that you’ve known since you were five informs you that they too are getting married. Good for them you think until you meet their fiancé and the person is sincerely nice internally and absolutely breathtaking externally and they both truly seem to love one another.
Are you still happy with as Wikipedia would say your “emotional well-being” and stuff like that?
We know it when we feel it or when we fake it and try imitating it. To understand what happiness is the best starting place is still by definition. The site greatergood.berkeley.edu is helpful with this definition: Most of us probably don’t believe we need a formal definition of happiness; we know it when we feel it, and we often use the term to describe a range of positive emotions, including joy, pride, contentment, and gratitude.
[pullquoteright] The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.
But to understand the causes and effects of happiness, researchers first need to define it. Many of them use the term interchangeably with “subjective well-being,” which they measure by simply asking people to report how satisfied they feel with their own lives and how much positive and negative emotion they’re experiencing. In her 2007 book The How of Happiness, positive psychology researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky elaborates, describing happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”
The well respected group pbs.org approaches the subject this way: “Its pursuit is enshrined as a fundamental right in the United States and occupies most of us. But what do we really know about happiness? Can we study it? Are we born with it? Can we make ourselves happier? Who’s happy and who’s not, and why? What makes us happy? Researchers are learning more and more about the answers to these questions.
Martin Seligman, one of the leading researchers in positive psychology and author of Authentic Happiness, describes happiness as having three parts: pleasure, engagement, and meaning. Pleasure is the “feel good” part of happiness. Engagement refers to living a “good life” of work, family, friends, and hobbies. Meaning refers to using our strengths to contribute to a larger purpose. Seligman says that all three are important, but that of the three, engagement and meaning make the most difference to living a happy life.”
After all of that, I think I subscribe to what counsellingconnection.com describes. Hedonic well-being is based on the notion that increased pleasure and decreased pain leads to happiness.
To me that’s like sticking your head in the sand. A good time must always be had and only speak of positive subjects or else you will be shunned by the eternal Good Time Charlie. Well we all know how that turned out don’t we? The author Danny O’Keeffe sings winsomely that Good Time Charlie had the blues.
No sustained happiness there.
Thus counsellingconnection.com adds; eudaimonic well-being, on the other hand, is strongly reliant on Maslow’s ideas of self-actualization and Roger’s concept of the fully functioning person and their subjective wellbeing. Eudaimonic happiness is therefore based on the premise that people feel happy if they experience life purpose, challenges and growth.
My feeling is that we are happy as long as we are achieving or surpassing our important life goals. Fail miserably and happiness exits.
[pullquoteright] There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.
It’s easy to love fully competitive women’s wrestling, even if it’s fleeting in its return love. We seem to be getting closer. Let’s speak with Dylan in an inclusive interview with fciwomenswrestling.com.
FCI: Well Dylan, first of all, hello. Thanks for speaking with us.
Dylan: Thank you (sincere happy smile on face).
FCI: You’re fairly new to the women’s wrestling scene, perhaps you could tell us a little bit about your athletic background?
Dylan: I played lacrosse for about 4 to 5 years all throughout school and fell in love with it. I also like to do circuit training and run bleachers so I have inside and outside work outs.
FCI: So you work out often?
Dylan: I have a busy schedule going to school and all but I make time for it.
FCI: One of the things we find fascinating about models and women wrestlers is how often you travel. What foreign countries have you traveled to?
Dylan: Recently I have been to London and Paris.
FCI: What is your favorite city in the United States?
Dylan: I haven’t traveled as much in the states but my favorite city would be San Francisco because you can pretty much do anything or be who you want to be. I would like to travel more so maybe wrestling will bring me into that.
FCI: Being new, you are often in the position of being an underdog, how does that make you feel?
Dylan: I’m up for a challenge but one day I would like it to be a challenge of equals.
The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it.
……….Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Given her positive attitude we know it won’t be long before Dylan will be the front runner in a competition.
I would relax and watch Dylan wrestle that day and witnessed the unusual experience of watching two matches fight to a draw. That is a step up for Dylan since she had less experience than one of the two wrestlers involved. Dylan has practiced with a northern California group and it showed.
Female Competition International is encouraged when we see a young up and coming sweet faced girl like Dylan join the ranks of the competitive women’s submission wrestling world. True to form, in this new world, most of the girls have already graduated from college or have some post high school education experience.
It was a pleasure meeting Dylan that sunny day in San Jose. I felt many emotions as I often do when I watch competitive women’s submission wrestling especially when the intensity meter is high.
When watching Dylan wrestle I felt something special that I wish I felt more often for sustained periods of time but in this short life I suppose you should be appreciative and gleeful to receive it even if it’s packaged in small doses. Fortunately that day I did possess it if only for a moment.
Thank you Dylan.
What was the strongest emotion I felt that day watching sensuous, fresh faced and very friendly Dylan wrestle? Yes you already know.
I felt happy.
~ ~ ~
[alert_blue] Sources: Wikipedia, brainyquote.com, greatergood.berkeley.edu, pbs.org, counsellingconnection.com, Female Competition International, Photos Wikimedia Commons, Ms. Dylan’s photos copyright fciwomenswrestling.com.