This afternoon when I met my children at the bus stop, my daughter said, “I loved today Mum”.
“That’s great,” I said, “Why was today so good?”
“Because I grew a pumpkin and I picked it and here it is and it’s for you.” And with that she presented me with a sort of heirloom looking vegetable of a dark green hue. I’m pretty sure it’s a squash of some sort but didn’t like to say. I thanked her profusely. I can’t eat pumpkin, it is very high in histamine and give me hives, so I’ll be glad if it is a squash. I will bake it and serve it up to my family with glee.
“And Mum guess what?” Says my son in hurried excitement, “We’re allowed to take our trucks on a track the whole way around school. Just us – my friends and me. Can’t wait.” His eyes danced.
Later, my smaller daughter, while making a felt picture said, “Look at my picture, it makes me happy.” I looked at her picture and it made me happy too. There is nothing nicer than your children telling you they are happy and today I hit the happiness trifecta without even trying. Most days I pick them up and they bicker over car seats, whinge about the contents of their lunchboxes and tell me how many bumps they received in the play ground. Today was a refreshing, happy diversion.
All very fitting because as it turns out, today is the second International Day of Happiness, the catchphrase of which is, “If you want to be happy, be!” – Leo Tolstoy. I’m not sure I agree with that as there are certain chemical imbalances which prevent some people feeling real happiness no matter how hard they try, but I certainly agree with the sentiment.
Happiness Day is really pointed at happiness in the workplace and promoting the wellbeing of employees and Happiness At Work, but we should never pass up an excuse to just reflect on the all our reasons to feel happy; like pumpkins and felt pictures and trucks etc.
Here’s what makes me happy:
- Those proper, hurty belly laughs, they make me happy for days.
- A really good film.
- A really good book.
- Being productive, useful, getting stuff done.
- A clean house.
- A day the beach with my family.
- Swimming in the ocean.
- My fella telling me I’m a bit of orright.
- Ice cream.
- Hours and hours of alone time with my writing and the radio.
- A really good song.
- Clean sheets.
- Bed when you’re really, really dog-eared tired.
- Offspring on the Telly.
- Eddy Perfect.
- Sleepovers with my friends.
- Making people laugh.
- Kevin Bloody Wilson.
- My children laughing together (in a good way, not a naughty or fake way, those do not a happy me maketh)
I’ll stop now. There are more but it’s probably as boring as hearing all about someone’s dream. Think about the things that make you happy though, then pursue them. I’m about to get me a bowl of ice cream, oh yes sireee.
But please note, amongst all the saccharin gush, it’s ok not to feel happy ALL of the time. I used to live in North Bondi where there was a healthy burger bar – you know the ones, all chickpea, haloumi and whiffy armpits. The burgers were awesome but the staff were just SOOOOO happy all of the time that I started to feel uncomfortable. My flat mate declared the place a danger zone on account of all the mania – sure to turn into some kind of nasty explosion one day. It was all organic and natural but those levels of happiness seemed anything but.
Oh but here’s another thing that made today happy: My son (the truck lover), finally got that an ‘e’ on the end of a word turns a short ‘i’ into a long ‘I’. This after endless repetition, spelling drills, reading eggs lessons and me having to deep breathe my way through frustration bordering on, “Oh for fuck’s sake” or something equally useful. He was rewarded with four ‘smarties for a smarty’ and I was rewarded with a big, happy smile.
And another happy coincidence – today is also Close the Literacy Gap Day, which is directed at raising literacy levels among Indigenous children in Australia. 70% of year 9 indigenous students are not meeting National standards for reading and writing. I’ve pledged my support, and here’s my suggestion: ABC Readings Eggs, which I am lucky enough to be able to afford, which helped my son today and has helped all my children from kinder, is supported by our National Broadcaster. Surely this means the Government has some level of control over the program. Surely it could be offered to indigenous communities for free? Or are the resources better spent on getting the children to school in the first place?
I’d happily give up ice cream if it meant our indigenous population had higher levels of well being.
Happy Close the Literacy Gap day, happy Happiness Day.
What makes you happy? Think about it while you listen to Dame Vera Lynn. It’s her birthday today. Happy Day Dame Vera, your music makes me happy.