Good afternoon, lovely reader! I hope you’re enjoying your weekend so far.
Today’s blog starts with some wise words from a fairly well-known American dude by the name of Abraham Lincoln: “Folks are generally about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
I usually have very little patience with trite little sayings like that, but I am (begrudgingly) forced to admit that Abe might have a point. Obviously there are enormous, life-defining factors that shape a person’s happiness: upbringing, career, love life and so on. But there is a spectacular amount of joy to be taken from the tiniest things in life, and I think we should pay closer attention to them. They might not fix all of our problems or make us wealthier/more attractive/more talented, but these tiny injections of joy can add up to generally higher happiness levels.
Here are some of my favourite examples:
1) When the Tubes Align
There are many reasons to get cross with the London Underground, but there are also several things to love about it. Firstly, have you ever arrived on a platform exactly as your train pulls in to the station? It’s like you SUMMONED THE TRAIN. Also, standing in just the right spot so that the doors open precisely in front of you. That’s a win right there.
2) Overheard Conversations
The sensation of overhearing a snippet of someone else’s conversation as they walk past in the opposite direction is always entertaining, because they’re out of context and you can have fun imagining how on earth the chatter went in that direction. For example , I overheard a girl on the phone to someone the other day, and as I walked past her I heard this: “So I turn to him and go ‘no’, and he goes, ‘what about the sausages?’ and I’m like…” I will never find out what she replied to this unfortunate chap, but imagining it amused me for several minutes afterwards.
Behold: the inexplicably red elixir of my childhood! I haven’t had this for about fifteen years, and I am daintily sipping a glass of it as I type. As an adult I shouldn’t still enjoy drinking an undoubtedly mental numbers of additives, but I do. A lot of our childhood pleasures were simple and attainable, and there is nothing wrong with revisiting some of them as a grumpy grown up.
4) Anthem for Doomed Youth
Speaking of nostalgia, going back and listening to those songs that you and your friends loved as teenagers is an incredibly simple way to make yourself happy, even if it’s just for a few minutes. As you may have gathered from the title of this blog, my generation’s anthem is probably the aforementioned Blink 182 song, although other contenders include Song 2 by Blur and Last Train Home by Lost Prophets (well, this is awkward…let’s move on).
5) New Friends
Stumbling across an episode of Friends that you’ve never seen before is THE DREAM. It’s such a tiny thing, but on some fundamental level it reminds us that there is still mystery and adventure in the world, and that even stories you think are long-since over can still surprise you. I might be reading slightly too much into it, but the point stands that something routine – and let’s be honest, Friends has been on television non-stop for over a decade – can still bring you unexpected joy.
I hope that you’re having a deliriously happy Saturday. If you’re not, other contenders for the top 5 list included blowing bubbles and watching popcorn pop, so give those a try.