I’m a bit late to the party here and also ashamed to say that I was tagged for this nearly a month ago by lovely Caroline over at Diary of a Mum of 3 but April has been a bit of weird one for me with regards blogging and an awful lot of things have been put on a back burner. I love being able to make lists like this though – sometimes it can be a bit of a wake up call when you start to feel like you are sleepwalking through life. So without further ado here are my own ‘Fifty Happy Things’:
It’s happened before and it’s happening again. Instead of reaching January and writing a list of unattainable resolutions, I’ve reached January and began again to ponder the nature of happiness. I even bought a book, Happy This Year by Will Bowen, which falls firmly under the category of ‘self-help’ (after last year buying The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin). According to Bowen, the more you think about happiness and the more time you spend assessing your own happiness level, the happier you’ll become, because happiness is inherently a choice we make regardless of all life’s ups and downs.
In thinking about the concept of joy for this week’s prompt I was mentally bombarded by the expression ‘bundle of joy’. For a parent, I think you just automatically begin associating the strong emotions you feel with your children. And joy is a strong emotion – it is bigger than happiness, more powerful than contentment. It is sheer, unadulterated rapture.
When you hear someone described as having a ‘joie de vivre’ – it automatically makes you gravitate towards that person, ready to be swept along by their enthusiasm for just being in the world and yet, at it’s heart, for me, joy is in single moments – yes, of course that first time your baby smiles at you, but also, an unexpectedly beautiful sunset, the day your solicitor tells you you’ve finally exchanged on a longed for home, taking your first tentative step on a new adventure with all it’s promise – be that travel, a business venture or parenthood.
As I tipped over into my thirties I began to wonder where I was going wrong in life. I hadn’t had the confidence or drive to really pursue a career in journalism and had drifted into a vaguely publishing-related office job instead (albeit with the wonderful addition of getting to edit The Book Monster for a couple of years). I was recently divorced after making the mistake of marrying an alcoholic. I was rapidly approaching the ovary-shrivelling ‘geriatric’ stage of fertility and living out a rebound relationship which never really had any chance of making it in the long term.
Over at Mum turned Mom HQ this week, Sara has gone for a word as this week’s Prompt: Shine. I didn’t immediately know what to say about this and wasn’t going to enter the link up this week, but I find myself with a little time on my hands and started contemplating what ‘shine’ means to me.
The dictionary tells me that to shine is to emit light, to glint or glisten, to excel or to be immediately apparent. When I think about what it takes to shine, as a person, it takes confidence, it takes a happy, outgoing spirit who is not afraid to put his or herself on the line, and, to be more philosophical, it takes a person who can accept that they have a light inside them which can be directed out into the world, to counteract the darkness.
The above is a quote from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and was MumturnedMom‘s prompt for week five of her Prompt linky.
I’m revisiting this post for this week’s Theme Game theme of ‘Love’ as, although this was originally inspired by thinking about happiness, the things you love are instricably linked with happiness and the two pretty much go hand in hand!
It would be impossible to narrow down what person or thing I love (although obviously I love my family and friends above all else) so I’ve decided that the best way forward is a good old list of all the wonderful things that make me happy:
I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness lately and started reading “The Happiness Project” this week after seeing mention of it in a post over at Learner Mother. After my thoughts last week on how the outlook of other, more pessimistic or gloomy souls can drag you down somewhat (unless you can switch off without appearing rude!), I began to ponder what external factors can flick the happiness switch. Lately, for me (and I’m sure plenty of other people too) its the moment that the Pharell Williams song “Happy” comes on the radio. I instantly find myself doing a little shoulder dance, singing along, visualising that very lovable video that goes with this awesome tune – other random bods going about their days, the sun shining, the quality of the light, the feeling that everyone else who is listening to this song is somehow connected to you in a wave of euphoria. Feeling just like a room without a roof (whatever that means!). And who can fail to be tickled by the sight of a life size minion getting in on the action?
So for all those who want to bring bad news to me I will attempt to mentally channel Pharrell – “no offence to you, but don’t waste your time”.
In the spirit of idea sharing I’d love to know what flicks your happiness switch?
Four mornings a week I find myself in the presence of a lovely lady who does me a great favour saving me both time and money through her selfless generosity. She is the first person who I see and speak to on these days. Unfortunately she is also the world’s biggest pessimist, gloom-monger and doom sayer. In fact I’d go so far as to suggest that her glass is way less than half empty.
This puts me in the unenviable position of starting off each working day, not with a cheerful, sunny or inspirational ‘thought for the day’ but rather a dire, doom-laden prospectus on the unravelling of society, the hopelessness of the way our country is going and the traffic gridlock our town will surely face when they start building the new Sainsburys in a few weeks time.
As this week’s Theme Game (courtesy of The Reading Residence and Red Peffer) is all around the theme of ‘play’ I’m sure that I’ll be reading lots about the various ways in which children come to this activity: cars, dolls, tea parties; imaginative play; learning through play; game playing; team games; solitary play; softplay; outdoor play; physical play; mind games, wordplay…
And I could tell you about my children’s favourite forms of play, what I think they might have learned on the journey, or the kind of play I would like to encourage more of. But most interesting to me though is something I read on Wikipedia which states that, regardless if play is structured or unstructured both types “promote adaptive behaviours and mental states of happiness”.