Lately I have been extremely happy. I feel guilty admitting that when I know so many people who are struggling right now. But why am I so happy? I had to ask myself the same thing because I had no idea. There really has been no change in my situation—no dramatic shift in my circumstances. I still have three children, live in the same house, and am married to the same guy— essentially the same routine I have had for the last three years. So I did what I do best:
I made a list of what makes me happy.
(Yes, my husband makes fun of my love of listing. Rightfully so. It’s chronic.)
I speed-wrote 30 things. The list came surprisingly fast—I was done within 5 minutes—but the most surprising thing was the list was full of things I had never considered before because they seemed so minor. They weren’t things I think of as “happy” at first, but rather peaceful things that bring me contentment. So I began researching what others considered happiness. Turns out quite a few people consider the quiet day-to-day joys as true happiness. My discovery wasn’t so ground breaking after all! But to me, the best part was finding out my particular list was generally things I could enjoy any time I wished.
And in case you are curious, I’ll throw my heart out here…
- The smell of spruce, lavender, or vanilla
- Planning a new adventure—whether in real life or in a book I want to write
- Snuggling with the toddler
- Making lists!
- Talking to my mom
- Listening to the music for the mood I’m in
- Truly listening to my children’s laughter
- Planting something in good, dark soil
- Stretching—I love it more than the exercise!
- Me, a kayak, and a calm water for silently watching wildlife
- Making things with my own hands
- An organized closet
- Eating a slow dinner as a family
- Acoustic guitar music
- Looking at a wall full of books
- Freshly-laundered sheets
- Writing first drafts
- Sitting at an outdoor bistro
- Walking a dog
- Taking a warm shower/bubble bath
You get the idea….
Notice most of my hallmarks of happiness were not only everyday things but came from homey comforts. I didn’t appreciate that home is such a source of joy before!* Just recognizing this has given me even more happiness in my life and helped me to be grateful for those small moments of beauty I overlook everyday. (Especially at home, because I used to not be a big home-body.)
Q4U: If you wrote a five minute list of 30 things that made you happy, what would be on it?
* SIDE NOTE: After I wrote my list, I began researching happiness and came across the amazing Gretchin Rubin and her blog. And just in time too! Because she has a book coming out next week which records her project to create more Happiness at Home. I can’t wait to read it. Check it out if you are interested!