I know I’m hopping on this train way late (like, way way late), but I’ve been thinking a lot about that Pharell Williams song “Happy” lately. And as my boyfriend can tell you, thinking a lot about means listening a lot to. And since the walls of our apartment are thin, our neighbors could probably tell you that too.
What I love about this song (besides its catchy hook and the way it makes you want to bounce around your bedroom in socks) is its simplicity. “Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof. Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth. Clap along if you know what happiness is to you. Clap along if you feel like that’s what you want to do.”
Of course that’s what I want to do! Who doesn’t want to be happy? Yet too often, when people ask me how I’m doing, I’m stressed or tired, overwhelmed or just fine. I’m good. What a platitude.
I watched a weird documentary once that said consciously looking for positivity makes you a more positive person. Your mood is regulated by the way you view the world and things like that. Smiling when you’re angry makes you less angry. (Try it sometime. It works. Disgusting.) So to be happier people, we don’t need to wait for our life circumstances to change, we just need to identify the moments that make us happy and let them soak in.
So what is happiness to me?
Today, it was the loaf of bread I pulled out of the oven, the very first loaf of bread I’ve ever baked.
It was having breakfast with David in the morning. The ritual of setting out plates and coffee mugs, toasting bread, shaving slices of cheese, opening jars of honey and jam.
It was the brilliant bunch of tulips sprouting into bloom overnight, ruffling sweet red blossoms in the hungry air.
It was editing a poem and surprising myself with a turn of phrase.
It was opening a new bottle of lotion.
It was watering the herbs in the windowsill.
It was creamy Greek yogurt swirled with chopped garlic and salt and the juice of a shriveled brown lime with a surprise of sweet green sap inside.
It was listening to “Happy” on repeat 5 times before feeling guilty about the neighbors.
If I really spent the day clapping along to everything that made me happy, my hands would sore.
I don’t always feel happy, and I don’t think it would be true to want to be in a state of perpetual happiness. I know those people. They freak me out. But I do think we don’t spend enough time noticing the little bright moments in each day – and there is at least one in every day – that bring us joy.