I’m a firm believer that the best things in life aren’t things, and the happiest people are the people who are happy for stuff other than things. Things can’t make you happy long term. Things break, get lost, don’t work as well as they used to, and aren’t the latest and greatest after a minute. Things are not the key to happiness. Being grateful for the little stuff is they key to happiness.
What makes me happy, in no particular order:
1. Thunderstorms- I love the flash bang, and I love the sounds of rain. One of my best memories is sitting on a porch in a rainstorm with my feet on the railing getting wet, and a laptop on my lap while I wrote a story.
2. Music- Sometimes it’s Mogwai, sometimes it’s the Beatles or Enya or Tiffany. But no matter what, I love surrounding myself with music. I love creating playlists of all the random stuff I like for all different times. I may not sing well, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know all the words. Or that I don’t sing them. Because if I have headphones on, I’m not the one that has to hear it, am I?
3. My dogs- They’re always happy to see me and give unconditional love. Without them, who would paint my laptop screen with nose smudges?
4. Books- Okay, yes, they’re things, but it’s not the books themselves that make me happy; it’s the stories. I don’t go buying first edition hardbacks; I actually prefer used books, and if they have personality in the way of marks on pages or even better, something written in them, I’m thrilled. Nothing I like better than finding a secret treasure in a book. A receipt, a name, a message… it’s a link to someone else who loved that book too.
5. My laptop- Another thing, yes. But I hate hand writing things, primarily because my hands hurt when I write too much (like anything more than a sentence). So I need my laptop so I can write. Because I can’t be happy if I don’t tell stories.
6. Friends- I have a few friends who I consider “lifetime” friends. I think I’m lucky to have a small group of people who I can be my real self with, and who can be their real selves with me.
7. Quotes!- I love quotes! I have a notebook full of them, and I keep as many of them in my brain as possible. Maybe some people get sick of me quoting things, that that’s just too bad. It’s my way of spreading love and joy.
8. Windchimes and prisms- Another thing, yes, and two things in fact. But they go together so well. I don’t love them because they’re stuff; I love them because they make rainbows and soft noises. How can you not love things that jingle and make rainbows?
9. Hiking- When I was a kid, I used to just go walking in the woods behind my house. Then I’d just find a clearing, put my back against a tree, and read or write. These days, I still love walking through someplace that hasn’t been tamed yet. The desert here in AZ, back to cliffs and forest when I move to TX.
10. Skating- There’s nothing quite like the feeling of skating. It’s almost like flying. For me, in-lines almost feel like an extension of my feet.
The thing is… what makes you happy is up to you. You can always wish for the newest, latest, greatest, shiniest, brightest, but when the shine fades and it’s not the newest anymore, the happiness wears off. Happiness doesn’t wear off love or memories. They may end up tempered with sadness or melancholy, but that doesn’t change what was.
“The best things in life aren’t things.”
— Art Buchwald