A lot of this year I have spent time asking myself what makes me happy. Of course it’s important to look at the big picture when you ask yourself this question such as questioning what makes you happy career wise, if you want to travel and what hobbies you want to pursue but I’m starting to realise that happiness isn’t necessarily just big grand moments sewn together but also made up of small victories and experiences, which can sometimes be more important.
There is a house near me where an elderly man lives with a bunch of cats that he has rescued over the years. When my brother and I were kids walking home together from school we would always make a point of stopping at this house with its overgrown trees that shrouds the house in mystery and we would search for a hidden cat in the yard. Would we see the cat with one ear today? Perhaps we would see the new kitten or the old and grumpy tabby cat? Some afternoons we wouldn’t manage to see any but other days we would find a ginger nose poking out of shrubbery or a white cat sunbaking in the driveway. It was this small joint experience that brought us excitement and at the end of the day it didn’t really matter if we found a cat or not, a lot of the time the joy was in the search.
Happiness is also sometimes the small moment that you share with strangers, although they tend to be fleeting they can have lasting impressions. Last week I was walking home in the morning after spending the night at a friends house. The sun was shining, flowers were blossoming and although it was the middle of Winter it was feeling more like Summer which was already putting me in good mood. As I was walking along an elderly man with a semi hunched back, pants hiked up to his waist and a lazy smile on his face was walking towards me.
“I hope you have a good day”, he almost whispered as he walked passed me as quickly as his legs would allow.
“Thanks! Same to you!” I replied with a smile and enthusiasm in my voice.
His expression instantly glowed as a large smile matching mine took over his face before he continued on his way. It was nothing much but that small interaction had an impact on both of our days. He didn’t have to say anything but he did and small acts of kindness like this one mean a lot to me.
The other week I came home on a Friday night after going out to dinner. My parents had spent the night in and were pumping Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album, which is one of my all time favourites. They were a few drinks in and before I knew it they were turning up the volume and dancing together in the living room with their eyes closed as they let the music (with maybe a little bit of help from the wine) take over their movements. In that moment I could tell that they were more than just happy, they were madly in love. Watching this exchange between my parents made me feel all those lame gooey emotions on the inside and pushed any problems I was having that week at the back of my mind. My parents have had some of the craziest and most intense experiences in their lives but that didn’t matter as those experiences had somehow brought them together.
No ones life is a constant stream of rainbows and butterflies, I know. I experience intense emotions; sometimes I feel as if there is nothing that can get me down and I feel invincible when it comes to my present and future. I want to see, do and be everything while a permanent smile is planted on my face but sometimes there are weeks when I’m not feeling positive, social or motivated at all. I would rather stay at home in my pyjamas all day and not reply to anyone’s messages and wallow over a bunch of stupid little things that have somehow managed to wiggle their way into my head. It is in these moments I, as well as you, need to remind ourselves how good life actually is. Life is that much sweeter when you have the good and the bad because how would you be able to know how good an experience is if you have nothing to compare it to?
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Skirt: Thrifted in Wellington, NZ
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Belly Chain: ASOS