If there is one thing I have learned about happiness, it’s that it is as unique and distinct to each person as their personality and looks are. Everyone has different things that make them happy. There may be some commonality, but there will always be a few quirks! We can also learn a lot about happiness from other people. They may be able to put it into words and suddenly you realise you get happiness from that thing, too.
So for me, happiness is…
That quiet on the weekend mornings before the rest of the world wakes up. Warm coffee with honey.
Watching the sun move around my living room floor, watching the cats (and dog) chase it in varying degrees of dumpling and sprawl.
A clean kitchen and a tidy home – it’ll never fully be clean just because of the amount of cat hair (I’m looking at you, oh short-haired one) that permeates all soft furnishings, but it can at least be tidy. Airing out the house on a sunny day.
Lying on the couch, watching terrible murder shows (like Forensic Files) and playing dinky little games (Sally’s Salon is a favourite), and then rolling over to have a nap.
Snuggling into my onesie. Spending entire weekends in my onesie except for dog walks.
Seeing the weather is lovely outside and knowing I don’t have to do anything if I don’t want to. Seeing the weather is awful outside and knowing I can stay snuggled up on the couch and not feel like I have to make the most of the nice weather … because it’s not.
Reading. Anything that I enjoy. New books, old favourites. Going back through my favourites list on Archive of our Own and reading my comfort fanfics. Reading the funny things people put up on Fark.
Talking to a few close friends. Visiting a few close friends at their home for cheap and nasty and amazing takeaways and a crafty evening. Being open about my mental health with a few close friends, and the looks on their faces when I tell them they’re no spoon people, because even when I’m totally wiped out I will still talk to them and see them and enjoy myself and feel refreshed.
Opening the curtains in my room. Lying on my bed and listening to music or podcasts with the windows open on a sunny day. Having a nap there, with the sun and the fresh air. Lying on my bed and listening to the rain on the roof and watching it come down outside. Clean sheets.
Recognising when I’m starting to feel overstimulated and frantic and knowing I can put in my earbuds and put on some white noise and take a moment to breathe. Beginning to understand and explore my limits and live comfortably within them. Knowing that I don’t have to attend that work function, knowing that I need to stay at home to recover from the day, or the week, and not feel guilty at all about it because I just work differently to everyone else. Knowing that it doesn’t matter if people don’t understand, I don’t have to try to get them to understand, I can simply say “I can’t do that many people at once right now” and that is enough.
Having enough income to pay my bills and to eat a bit better. To not have to stress about whether or not I can afford the gas I need for the week, because feeding the animals will always come first. Knowing that there isn’t someone there deliberately trying to screw over my budget, to take every cent of surplus and more. Knowing that I finally have the freedom to manage my own budget, to apply money to areas where I see fit, to not have to compensate for Its fuckups.
Seeing other people’s posts on facebook and instagram where they’re doing amazing things for themselves and loving them for it. Loving their journey, loving that they are sharing this with you, loving that you can see what they’re up to, where they are in the world, the amazing scenery they are seeing, the adventures they are undertaking. Knowing that one day (and I’m realistic in that it may not be within this next decade) I will do the same. I will go to places I want to go to, I will see things I want to see, I will have adventures I want to have, and I will take inspiration from my friends who have gone before me, and I will take advice from my friends who have gone before me, and I will be all the better for it.
There’s one key thing here that you may have noticed. All of my happiness involves little things, and none of them involve prescribing to someone else’s idea of happiness, of wellness. There’s no meditation, there’s no hiking up mountains (although I do enjoy occasional hikes out with my mates), there’s no big grand thing.
Life is a series of little things strung together around big things. Alter those little things in life so that they are things you enjoy, so that they bring you happiness. You may enjoy taking a walk at 6.00am. You may enjoy sleeping in until 2. You may enjoy socialising, going to cafes. You may enjoy curling up in bed with a good book. You may enjoy scented candles, drawing, beading, napping, gardening, researching … what ever it is you enjoy, whatever it is you want to do at this particular moment, do it. (Unless it’s illegal, then please don’t.) If you don’t have the energy to do what you really want to do right now, that is totally okay, find a TV show you enjoy and relax into it. Have a nap. Have a cup of tea.
Let yourself feel joy from the little things in life. Because life is a series of little things strung together around big things.