Food For Thought: Curating Happiness
It’s Sundays like today that give me so much life. I’m alone, no one is around me, I’m sitting at the office and it’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining. Spring is finally here. Finally! The office is located on a lively street in the mezzanine of an old beautiful house built in 1902. My desk is right at one of the gorgeous big, old and creaking windows and from the corner of my eye I can see people walking by on the streets. Young families with strollers and their kids on little bikes. Couples. Friends. Old people… Everyone is outside enjoying the sun, being happy a new season has started and everything is starting to blossom again. Why I’m sitting at the office, you’re wondering?
I enjoy being at the office when no one else is here. I turn on some music, I get myself a cup of coffee, browse through all the links to articles and things that inspire me I’ve saved the past week, which I haven’t had time to look at yet. I browse through music and discover new songs. I write; I sort my thoughts; I daydream. In general, sometimes I just like being alone. That doesn’t mean I don’t like being with people, or being social. But sometimes I simply enjoy my own company. I don’t know if that’s something you simply need when you’re an only child – because you’re used to being on your own a lot. Or if it’s something you learn to appreciate when you’re getting older.
The older I get, the more I get to know myself. Especially during this past year of self-employment I inevitably got to know myself better every day, because I had to make so many decision on my own and by myself – for myself.
One of my key takeaways this past year was that it’s important to make time for myself. No matter if you’re in a relationship, or not. No matter if you’ve got a very time consuming job, or not. No matter if you’re living in a shared apartment with your friends, or not. Make room and time for yourself that you spend doing with things you love. Also if you’re not sure yet what exactly it is that you love doing – only if you allow yourself to have time to get to know yourself better, you’ll eventually find out what it is that sets your soul on fire. This one activity that you can do all day long, forgetting time and space while doing so. This one activity that makes you forget to check your watch, that you’re hungry, and the million other things on your mind. That’s the activity I’m talking about. To me, writing is one of those activities. And reading. Motivational books, inspiring blogposts, other people’s stories, poetry…
You know how they say we’re taking photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone? I think of writing in a very similar way. Sometimes, the only way for me to sort my thoughts is by writing them down. Staring at my own words, black on white, gives me the space and distance it takes to think more clearly.
As a little practice to curate happiness and elaborate what makes me feel profoundly good, I wrote down all the small joys of my life. All the tiny feelings that sum up to monumental feelings which are the essence of life. Unfiltered and unsorted, in no particular order:
Your Mom’s voice when she answers the phone, greeting you with your nickname in her comforting familiar tone that gives you peace of mind right away.
Thinking of your Dad and hearing his signature phrases so loud and clear, that it feels like he stands right next to you.
When you’re coming back home to your dog and you’re being greeted as if you haven’t seen each other for ages, although you’ve only been gone for 10 minutes.
The smell of your parents’ home that you’ve known for all your life.
Watching the sun go down, and feeling sad and excited at the same time for one day to end and another one to just begin.
Feeling the first rays of warm sunshine on your belly after a long winter.
Drinking the first coffee of the season at a Café while sitting in the sun in Spring.
The way the juice of a ripe peach drips down your chin as you eat it.
The little thrill when you’re jumping into the ocean.
Dangling your feet into the sea.
Listening to the waves rolling in on the beach.
The first icy sip of Aperol Spritz, that makes you remember all those summer nights worth remembering.
When you put on a pair of jeans that have been too tight for a while, but finally they don’t pinch you anymore.
When you’re hearing your favorite song play and a feeling of happiness rushes down your spine.
This appreciative glance at your hands fresh from manicure.
The way a man unconsciously straightens his backs when he notices you walking into the room.
The feeling of taking your bra off after a long day.
The moment when your best friend opens the door and hugs you, and her familiar perfume fills your nose.
When you’re meeting a friend after you haven’t seen each other for a while, but it feels like you’ve just met yesterday.
The smell of fresh bed sheets.
Turning your blanket and feeling the cold side of it on your skin.
The feeling of staying in on a rainy day, doing absolutely nothing worth mentioning on social media.
Going through old photos and being back in the moment by just looking at them.
The smell of the t-shirt someone special left behind.
Thinking of someone and not being able to hide your smile.
The hesitation to light your favorite way-too-expensive candle.
The way a woman’s long hair shines like gold in the sun, and your desperate urge to touch it.
The sight of a man’s biceps as he picks up his baby.
When your Mom cooks your favorite dish and you feel like a kid again.
The way your dog thinks you’re the best human on this planet and loves you unconditionally.
Watching lovers at the arrivals gate at the airpot being reunited again.
Opening your hair from its bedtime bun and smelling your favorite shampoo.
Feeling your sore muscles after your workout and that delicious sense of appreciation for your body.
The feeling when your partner whispers something only meant for you to hear in your ear.
When you see an old friend and instantly you’re 21 again, drinking Aperol Spritz on a parking lot in Italy.
Driving in your car with the windows down and your favorite song on full blast.
The smell of babies.
The way kids smile at you for no reason.
Deep and meaningful conversations with someone who just gets you.
The sweet sensation you’re feeling when you’ve mastered a task that you thought would be impossible to do.
The memories from years ago that still glow inside you, the ones you treasure and pull up when life is slow.
All these small feelings that sum up to be what makes life so worthwhile, so precious and so unique. Often overlooked and not being regarded with the attention they deserve, when really they are everything.
Here’s a little task for you, if you like. Sit down, get yourself your favorite comforting beverage (whether it be coffee, tea, or a nice glass of wine), put on your favorite music and start writing down all the little things that make you happy. You’ll be surprised how much gratitude you’ll feel while doing so.