11 Things That Make Me Happy
My New Year’s happy listicle. The indulgences of an almost 70 year old.
I will not be making any New Year’s resolutions this year. Life is too unpredictable to plan for an entire year ahead. Like many other people, I prefer to live in the moment, which is an effective way to reduce anxiety about things I can do nothing about.
Without further ado, here is a list of things that genuinely make me happy, both big and small, in no particular order.
- Birdsong. There is nothing more uplifting than hearing the dawn chorus when waking. The call of an unknown bird while out walking. The high pitched call from a red kite as it soars above your head. The cheeping of little chicks in a nest under the eaves.
2. Books. To be surrounded by books, old and new, with the tantalizing choice of what to read next. Their historical significance, their smell, the feel of them in the hand. The knowledge that every single one was produced by hard work and dedication. The thirst for knowledge and the beauty of words have been a driving force for me since I began to read. As a child I could always be found with my head in a book.
3. Water. The sound of a babbling stream. The icy cold of water as it makes its journey down mountain slopes. The soothing lapping of waves. As a 17 year old, I lived for a summer with a family in Norway and we would pile into the car with a flask of coffee after dinner and go and sit at the top of the fjord, watching boats pass way below. That was magical.
4. Yarn. I love the colors and textures. I cannot resist going into a yarn store. I own far too much already but that won’t stop me purchasing more.
5. A warm bed. This is a luxury that has become an essential as I get older. I know there are millions across the world who do not have this in their lives and it seems a bit of a personal indulgence. I can cope with whatever the day brings, however cold the house gets, as long as I have a warm bed to go to.
6. Flowers. I don’t mean the cut variety that you plonk in a vase, even though they can be beautiful. I am talking about the joy of seeing flowers blooming. I like nothing better than to take my phone and camera and walk searching for wild flowers, or rambling through beautiful gardens.
7. Animals. The comfort of pets and the laughter they bring with their antics. The wonder of seeing a deer in the woods when out walking. Even the tiny mouse that scampers across the track will make me smile.
8. Comfortable shoes. Showing my age again here. I can no longer wear high-heeled glamor shoes. I don’t care so much what they look like, though I am very fond of my new bright yellow sneakers. I tell people that I will never lose my feet while wearing them.
9. Stationery. As a child I loved pencils and notebooks and that joy has never left me. A pencil with a finely sharpened point, an empty page in a journal calling me to fill it with ideas. All writers will understand this I think.
10. Clouds. The ever-changing vista of the sky, at once dark and brooding then magically lit by a glorious sunset. Shapes and colors like a natural kaleidoscope available to watch every day of the year, free of charge. The sky is the backdrop to our lives wherever in the world we live.
11. A cup of tea. There is something very comforting about a cup of tea. Whether alone, or in company, it is a soothing drink, warming the soul. It might be partly because I am Irish and the cup of tea was the signature of the family getting together, of friends meeting for a natter, the first thing you would be offered if something upset you. I like coffee too, but it doesn’t have the same connotations as tea does. It is an invitation to sit down and take a break.
Let’s put the kettle on and take minute to look back at 2021.
It wasn’t a great year by any standards. The cycle of the seasons and the enduring power of nature helped to see me through.
I am grateful to be still here, relatively unscathed.