Most of the time it’s just a simple, pleasant way to live your life. Most of the time, it gives you a high quality of life. When I was a boy, even though I was considered a fat, dumb, kid, I noticed that there were those people in the world who were just simply nice. I’m not talking about ‘polite nice’ but ‘actual nice.’ I have a very strong memory of a party that my parents once threw at our house back when I was maybe 9 or 10 years old. By then I had already grown uncomfortable in my skin. I didn’t like to be seen or noticed. But you simply can’t hide being fat, you can’t hide the shame that you feel because you don’t fit into, well, anywhere very well.

A woman came to the party, a guest of a guest. I don’t remember her name. I wish I did. I could tell she was a bit uncomfortable because she didn’t know anyone else at the party. She noticed, when I slipped into my room, that I had a collection of glass figurines, all of dogs. Rows and rows of different breeds, I picked each with care and with growing expertise, both in my knowledge of our canine friends and in my awareness of what made a notable figurine. Before I got through the door, she spoke to me asking me about my collection.

I shyly opened the door for her. Leaving the door open, she pulled a chair into my room after asking me if it was okay that she did. I’d been set up so many times that I was extremely wary and did not trust her intentions. But I relaxed as we talked about the collection and then, to my shock, about me. She told me a it about herself and her life growing up with dogs. I told her about how I saw dogs as more than pets, but as companions and, even, friends.

About a half hour later someone came to the door and encouraged her to come out and join the party, she said that she would in a moment. We talked a little more but I noticed her glance to the door and I knew our time was winding down. She told me that I was a really interesting little boy and she wished me well. Later, I heard someone teasing her about spending time with me, “I can understand you feeling sorry for the kid but you must have be bored stiff.” She defended me. Said that the conversation she’d had with me was the most interesting one that she’d had that evening. “You are too nice for your own good,” she was told.

Nice.

So that’s what nice means.

Being able to see in others worth.

Being able to invest time with others because of their worth.

There are many other definitions of ‘nice’ but that’s the first that actively came my way. Up until then ‘nice’ was just a word for something vaguely pleasant or pleasing. It was a word that with a change of tone became an insult. But at that moment, it became something more powerful than that.

At that moment it became my goal.

And she became my role model for how I wanted to be, I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, but now I knew how I wanted to be.