I was walking through town with someone recently and we spotted a group of men who appeared to be “looking for Pokemons” on their phones. It has become a recognized activity these days and you can spot it a mile away. As we waited for the green man to appear at the pedestrian crossing I overheard their lingo. They were talking about various Pokestops and talking about the Pokemons they had managed to catch so far. They were really enjoying themselves and were very happy.
I happened to overhear someone beside me making a comment about the group of men. I say men because they were probably in their early 20’s. They definitely seemed younger but I think that comes with the territory of playing this type of game. It’s playful and not very adult or something. Anyway, the comment I overheard was something along the lines of “will you give me a break? what are are they like?”. They had a personal issue with these men playing this video game (computer game, video game, phone game… whatever it’s called). It kind of left a bad taste in my mouth if I am honest. Why does everyone feel that they are an authority on other people’s lives? A group of people are innocently playing a game that brings them joy. An activity that unites them and brought them together that day. An activity that was the reason for all the smiles, laughs and sense of inclusion. How could that ever be a bad thing? Did the person beside me think that they should have been working a 9-5 that day? That they should be off chatting to a mortgage broker or making plans to have a baby? Was it unnerving to see an adult enjoying something that was so far from, perhaps, what they do to enjoy themselves.
It got me thinking. Isn’t life about finding YOUR happiness? The very fact that we are all different is what keeps this planet moving. It’s what attracts people to eachother. It’s the reason why you might fancy someone and your sister wouldn’t bat an eyelid at the same person. We are all different. Happiness should be celebrated, not berated. Some people like to spend hours in their homes reading. Others like to go clothes shopping or plan big nights out. There are people who genuinely enjoy sitting in a park and doing nothing other than listen to music on their Ipod. At the very same time there may be someone doing a 10km run around that same park. We all take joy from different things.
There are so many reasons to feel sad in this world. Five minutes of watching the news can suck every ounce of positive energy you have that day. Not to mention the tragedies and stresses that occur in your personal lives. Daily life can involve many struggles for a lot of people. You might hate your job or feel depressed about your health. You might be going through a rocky patch in your relationship or dealing with a rejection of some kind. You may suffer from anxiety or maybe you smashed a mug by mistake and it’s rightly pissed you off for the evening.
Life by nature is very stressful. A juggling act of work, relationships and health. Nobody said it would be easy. However, it is the little pockets of happiness that keep us going. Little nuggets of time that bring us joy. Time spent doing the things that make us feel content. That take us away from the stress, the rules and the worry. If we are not doing these things then what on earth is the bloody point? It is the very thing that lifts our spirit and gives us a reason to battle through the difficult times. The promise of a girls night out, the sunshine that makes for an afternoon in the park, the new recipe you plan to try.
We all take joy from different things and my personal attitude is that once you are not hurting anyone then it’s not really anyone else’s business what you are doing. Sure, you might find it “geeky” to play video games. You might think the person who writes poetry must be bored out of their tree. You might judge the person who lives for the crazy nights out every weekend. But the beautiful thing is that…. it doesn’t matter. That is their happiness. Their choice. Their journey.
I started thinking about the random little things that make me happy daily. The little check-points that help me live in the moment and appreciate my life. The moments that take me away from stress and anxiety.
Feeling needed. So my child doesn’t sleep very well. You might know that he has improved a lot in recent months but he is absolutely not a sleeper. Most nights he ends up in our bed and that is fine by me. This was a moment last week where I woke up to this. He was clutching my hand and snuggled up to me in the bed. His slow gentle breath stopped me in my tracks and made me feel truly present and grateful for this. Grateful for the gift of being a mother and the privalage of minding, loving and providing for this human being. I watched him sleep and it set the tone for the day.
My afternoon coffee in peace and quiet when the house is relatively tidy. I physically cannot sit down and enjoy it unless I’ve done something productive in the house first. That is just my personality. I like the feeling that I get when things are in order. There is a moment every morning where I open my son’s curtains. Light fills the room and I look at the little bits and pieces around his room. I don’t know what it is but it gives me a sense of happiness. His little things, his little room and the fact that we’ve given that to him. Somewhere safe and colourful. It makes me happy. The box of nappies? Yep, that gives me joy too. It is the kind of thing that makes my anxiety a little easier. Little routines and procedures I suppose. Not exactly riveting or spontaneous but that little box that houses the nappies, wipes and cream makes me feel calmer or something. It makes me feel like I have things in order and everything is not in disarray.
And finally, my favourite thing of all. Watching my son play. I get lost in the little choices he makes. He puts his cars and figurines in various places and says things like “yeah” to suggest that he is happy with the choices. He has conversations with little characters and gets lost in a world of imagination. It is remarkable to watch and it is enough to completely take you from a spiral of negative thoughts or stress. It’s where we all started you know, creating little games and scenes in our heads. Years and years where nothing matters more than the next game you will play. The next opportunity for fun. In these moments I realize time and time again that I need to take a leaf out of his book more often.