Friday, June 11, 2010

Things That Make Me Happy

I remember telling a friend of mine once that when I was in Australia I kept thinking about what I would do when I got home, and she looked at me, shocked. "Not really," she said. "You don't really spend time on your vacations thinking about when you have to return to 'reality.'"
I think I probably pointed out to her that traveling and vacationing are very different activities, but that just shows that I missed the point. The truth is, it's hard for me to focus on where I am NOW and not where I'm going to be LATER. I have said, many times, that I felt like I was frustrated, wasting time, spinning my wheels until the next adventure came around. I don't think I'm the only one who loses track of the moment, but considering that I have been to a lot of places that most people haven't, I am now realizing that the only time I ever wasted was the time I spent thinking about the future instead of enjoying the present.
So obviously I've been thinking about this a lot, and since I've been thinking about it, I've been able to catch my mind wandering into the future and bring it back to the present before I've planned my retirement and what car I'll drive when I'm 60.
As a result of this new-found PRESENT, I've realized that, while I've been looking into my future happiness, I've been missing some very small, simple things that I do daily that make me happy. This occurred to me the other day when I was standing in the kitchen, listening to the waves, and eating peanut butter and chocolate chips off a spoon. I realized that I was, at that moment, thinking of nothing else besides how amazing that combination is: chocolate, peanut butter, a fan above you, a view in front of you, and nothing to do but savor it all.
So I decided to make a list of the small things that make me infinitesimally happy, regardless of where I am, how bad a day I've had, or what tomorrow is going to bring. Feel free to add your own to the list as well.

What Makes Me Happy
1) A spoonful of peanut butter dipped in chocolate chips
2) My friends, of course!
3) A roomful of girls sporting purple wine teeth
4) Jane Austen movie nights where you can't stop speaking in British English. "Shall we pause the movie whilst she uses the loo?"
5) Coffee, made with freshly ground beans and really hot water
6) The feeling of waves pounding against the beach
7) The smell of salty sea air
8) A shared smile
9) Laughing out loud
10) An unexpected personal connection
11) Warm sand between my toes
12) Walking barefoot
13) Cold water on a hot day
14) Books that make you laugh or cry and inopportune moments, like on buses or airplanes, but you can't bring yourself to put them down to save your reputation.
15) The kindness of strangers
16) Afternoon naps
17) The smell of baked earth
18) The smell of the air at dawn
19) Swimming naked
20) Sunsets
21) When someone else does the dishes
22) Fresh cilantro, on or in pretty much anything
23) The smell of lilacs
24) The sound of bees in an orchard
25) Opening the fridge and finding amazing leftovers that are just what you were craving and you don't even have to cook it!

Love and happy kisses