Do you know what it takes to make my littlest dude happy? French fries. Something he never gets except during the winter Solstice because I don't believe in deep fried things. Unless they are sweet potatoes. I heart me some gooood sweet potato fries. But my LD doesn't. He only likes the French kind. So, sadly, he is deprived. (To be fair, I only eat sweet potato fries on the summer Solstice. I parent by example. Also by my love of saying the word "Solstice.")
Do you know what it takes to make my Middle Girl happy? Puppies. Plus cute little old people and adorable children. The other day I told her the story of my older brother finding out what the word "Infinity" meant. He was four years old. Someone had said the word "Infinity" in my bro's presence and he ran and asked my mom about it. She explained "going on forever and ever" to him as best she could. He nodded, then wandered off to think about it. He thought. And he thought. At the end of the day he came up to my mom with tears on his cheeks and said, "I hate 'finity!"
Awwww. Seriously. My Middle Girl died of "awww-ness" for the rest of the day.
My older two kids have happy-inducing favorite things that are about as simple as the younger two. My husband . . . well now. We've pretty much established that there's something wrong with that boy. Dude runs hundred-mile races and has installed the Jolly Green Giant's clothesline up above my house. Calls it a "HAM" radio antenna. Right. Like pigs talk on radios. (Oooh, so many jokes that I'm going to let go.) My huz doesn't count in this survey.
But me? I count. And I will tell you that I'm figuring out something by watching my little family-people. (Except my husband, who, as I mentioned, is slightly whacked. I say that with love.) Happiness can be very simple. It doesn't need to be complex. It doesn't need to be something elusive that I'm constantly searching for. It doesn't need to be something epically exciting, or even something new. Happiness is. It simply is. It's all around us, in every part of our lives. We have it, we just have to notice it.
Except that you can't notice anything if you are ripping along at 90 miles per hour. Have you ever tried that? Watched passing traffic and tried to pick out small details as the cars blow past? I tried that once. Went to the Indy 500 timed trials. Those cars were screaming by at 200+ miles per hour. If I tried to follow them I got eyestrain. If I just sat there and let them pass in front of me, they were reduced to race car colored smears. If I wanted to actually see any detail on those vehicles, they were going to have to slow the heck down.
Same with life. If we want to see the happy, we've got to slow down enough to get it in focus. There's a reason people say you've gotta "stop, and smell the roses." How you gonna wave your nostrils around above those buds if you ripped past them 10 minutes ago? You're not. And as long as you're not, you'll fail to notice the nuance in their color too.
Notice the good stuff. The little stuff: the weather, the timing of things, the people around you, your health, parts of your body that still work, the ways in which you've been able to use your talents to bless yourself and others–even if you have never been famous. Notice the moments of peace and grab onto them so you can really wade in and enjoy them. Lock onto the good in life. It will grow.
And then, you'll wonder why you ever thought you were unhappy. Believe me, this is the best way to deal with life's distresses. I spent a LOT of years not doing this. Doing this works better.
Lecture over. And just so you know, I'm saying all of this because I needed to hear it today.
Thanks! As you were.