I have a tendency to overthink everything, including my own happiness.
But in the past few years when I've really been taking responsibility for my mental well-being, I've learned -- through both my own actions and tendencies, as well as others on my "support team" -- that the simplest everyday joys make for the greatest long term happiness.
The bitter cynical side of me is rolling my eyes. I know how this crap sounds, really. But in learning to unclench, I've found more than a few good reasons to get out of bed every day.
Why does there always have to be something grand? Monumental? Dire? Looking forward to something -- anything -- large or small, can feel like such a relief. Simple pleasures can feel humanizing after a long while of feeling numb.
So I'd like to share 10 little things that make me simply happy.
LOUISE'S LIST OF HAPPY!!! (In no particular order)
1. Not having anywhere to be today.
The entire day stretches before me and I can be one with my couch and watch every nerdy documentary ever on ghosts or video games or murderers OR I can go out into world and waste time looking at pretty things in a store OR I can go to yoga OR I can eat a gluten-free pizza OR -- the possibilities are endless and I get to choose my own adventure.
2. I'm going out tonight.
It doesn't really matter if it's going to a bar, restaurant, concert, friend's house to play Taboo (I AM BETTER THAN YOU AT TABOO) -- something about knowing that my day is culminating to something relaxing or pleasing makes most of the bullshit in my day melt away as quickly as it appears.
3. I find a deeply ingrown hair and I am victorious over it.
I know it's kind of gross, but I love digging out ingrown hairs. Something about finding that little rebel and forcing him or her out into the light of day is so satisfying.
The thought of a delicious cup of coffee made FOR me, instead of coming from my own coffee machine can be enough some days, to bring a smile to my face and a jolt to my step. That first cup of coffee, the day after payday, on my day off, my computer fully charged, in a place that isn't my kitchen -- bliss.
5. I meet an especially fluffy dog.
I'm a crazy animal person, for those of you who are new. All dogs are "fluffy," regardless of hair. Nothing can get my heart to grow three sizes larger faster than a really wonderful pooch who smiles at you and is having a great day. BONUS POINTS if they let you give them a delicious treat!
6. A favorite author released a new book.
It doesn't even matter if I have yet to procure that book. Just knowing it is there for the picking charges me up. Maybe it's the promise of good things to come. That brings me to...
7. Going on an obviously achievable mission.
Going to get said book, or something like it, knowing exactly where to go, that I can indeed afford it, and knowing exactly how long it will take, is delightful in its simplicity. I know I can take detours along the way -- a pit stop for a snack, browsing other books, a chat on the phone, but I always know where I'm headed. Maybe it's a control freak thing?
8. Talking to a BFF or commiserating friend.
So maudlin, so overplayed right? But nothing can be more uplifting than talking to someone who, to the outside observer, it appears you speak to in a language and shorthand entirely your own.
9. I have a new bottle of hair/face/skin goodness waiting to be deflowered.
Nothing pleases me more than using a long coveted beauty product for the first time. I've been known to take a second shower or wash my hair again just to break in a new product. I definitely check myself out in windows and mirrors more when I know that I'm using something shiny and new on myself.
10. Realizing I've balanced my checkbook wrong -- in my favor!
I'm soooooo bad at math. Subtraction gives me pause. Often long pauses. So this happens once in a while, and when it does, be it $5 or $100 (it happened once), I always feel like I've landed on the Free Parking square in Monopoly, and I get to plunder all the money in the middle of the board. Free money! Yeah, yeah, yeah nerds, I know you're not supposed to do that, but really, who doesn't play Monopoly that way?
Is maintaining a balance of happiness on a daily basis really that simple?
Notice I don't use the word "easy." I don't think it's easy at all. I think clearing away all the junk that clutters our minds is just as hard as clearing out 300 cats from a pet-hoarder's house.
At heart, I think it just all stems from extending a kindness to myself. I'm allowed to be happy in this moment.
And if nothing else, I'm gonna really enjoy freeing that ingrown hair on my ankle later tonight.