The Simple Things

Last updated: October 2021

I’ve been thinking about all the things in my life that help me stay positive and happy. Happiness is tough to pin down. I’m sure I read somewhere that most people aren’t happy most of the time. But they are content. And it turns out that being content is good enough for most of us.

There are moments in my life when I’ve been acutely aware that I am happy. But I’ve noticed those moments are always fleeting. The experience is a lovely one, but it appears when I am doing nothing, and then suddenly evaporates. I’m talking seconds. I am happy to say (see what I did there?), that I don’t mind when the feeling goes. It’s just a lovely, swift moment of joy. And the minutes afterward leave an aftertaste in my mind that goes on for several moments more.

Doing little brings happiness

I’ve also noticed that these happy moments occur when I am doing very little. They don’t turn up when I am doing something hectic or exciting are even enjoyable. It’s a cliché, I know, but sitting in the sun seeing my family all together, gives me joy. Makes me happy. Watching my granddaughter playing, seeing my children and their partners talking and laughing with their mother, is my idea of heaven. I don’t need to be involved. I just need to witness it.

I think something wonderful occurs when we become still. Maybe that’s a small plus with the AS. Because, as with all of us, there are times when I don’t want to move. I want to be allowed to be left alone. To be still.

The simple things

I started off writing about the things that make me happy, but I have wandered off track a little. But then I quite like it when that happens. I never know where I might land up. Maybe the title for this should be, The Simple Things. I made a list in my mind, as I pondered my happiness, of just a few of the things that make me happy – random things.

My two cats, Noah and Claude

Noah is the oldest cat, black and white and petite compared to Claude. Noah is called Noah because he was rescued during a flood. A newborn kitten, he was found in a garden shed, with the water rising all about him. It is believed the rest of the litter had been carried away by Noah’s mother and he was the last one.  He is a loner – the type of cat that lets you pet him for a few seconds then turns on you.

Claude is the opposite to Noah, huge and placid and smoky grey. He seeks me out wherever I am and sits with me. We are rarely apart when I am at home. Having my cats around makes me happy. There’s something about their near silence, their fluid movements, their fur, their independence, their haughtiness. Those things combined, bring me peace.

Music, of course

Music brings me peace too. The Blues in particular. When I hear BB King play Lucille I just roll over. Same with John Lee Hooker. And then there’s Otis Redding, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, and on and on.

Writing makes me happy

It also makes me mad. Especially when it’s not going well, or I am struggling to say something, and I just can’t find the right words to say it. But when I write well – and I hit a seam – writing brings me great happiness.

Cold and rainy nights make me happy

If I am inside looking out. As I am now. It is very dark outside, and my window is dotted with rain drops and I can see the shadow of the buddleia tree moving in the wind. I can hear it too. Sprays of water gusting against the glass and the shiver and rustle of the tree’s leaves. All I need now Is a cup of cocoa and I will be in heaven.

There are countless other things that make me happy. I could write an entire book about my favorite foods – but for now, these are just a few of the simple things that spring immediately to my mind.

All this talk of being still and appreciating the simpler things in life has put me in mind of that wonderful poem "Leisure" by William Henry Davies. So, I’ll end on that.

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

I’d love to know what simple things make you happy.

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