A little while ago, MOH (My Other Half) and I were thrust into a difficult situation. It wasn't an insurmountable problem, but it was one that still resulted in the dreaded 'Double D' - Disappointment and Discontentment. We also witnessed people near and dear to our hearts go through some tough times. It was a little hard to remain cheerful during this time and I lamented about the injustice of it all.
In the midst of my despair (well it wasn't as bad as that but I was determined to wallow in self-pity so it had to be as dramatic as possible), I read a story in the Sunday paper about a woman called Marie-Therese. Marie Therese suffered from locked-in syndrome, a condition that leaves the sufferer unable to move any part of their body except their eyelids. For seventeen years Marie Therese lived with this terrible condition, which has been likened to being buried alive, and was only able to communicate with others by fluttering her eyelids. But despite this, she still managed to find enormous satisfaction with and contentment in her life. Before she passed away she blinked out a list, letter by letter, of 100 reasons why her life was worth living.
Needless to say, I was extremely humbled by this story of resilience and courage. I marveled at this woman's ability to have a ray of hope in what most would consider to be the darkest of times. I was also thoroughly ashamed of myself. Good grief, I certainly had nothing to complain about! To help me snap out of my pitiful state, I decided to start my own list of all the things, no matter how big or small, that bring a smile to my face and give me joy. So here it is, in no particular order:
2. Seeing MOH's face at the airport gate after a stint away for work.
3. Hanging out with our siblings - they really are a great bunch.
4. Our family members (the good, fun-loving ones in the family 'chocolate box', not the odd nuts).
5. Our friends - our other family.
6. Our wedding anniversary and wedding photos - nearly 10 years on and it is still the happiest day of my life, hands down.
7. Giving someone a gift that they love.
8. Traveling - I will never tire of exploring other countries and experiencing their unique cultures.
9. Shrieking with laughter with my girl friends over a funny story or a hilarious shared experience.
10. A great food experience whether it be a $12 plate of Chinese roast pork and rice from BBQ King or a meal that costs the earth from Quay.
11. A cup (or two) of rich, strong, dark coffee.
12. Chocolate in any form - like coffee, the richer, the stronger, the darker, the better.
13. Gelati - no less than three giant scoops.
14. Discovering a pair of shoes at the back of my closet that I had forgotten all about. In the words of Carrie Bradshaw: "I forgot I had you. Things are looking up!".
15. Re-reading one of my favourite books - it's just like coming back to an old friend.
16. Heels - critical for the vertically challenged such as me.
17. Satisfaction with work (whatever 'work' may be) - this has come to be my definition of professional success.
18. Long, newsy emails and pictures from family and friends scattered across the globe.
19. Having a good hair day.
20. The shot of endorphins after I've completed a spin class (yes, really) - I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman <insert roar>!
21. Entertaining others in our home.
22. Hawaii - when I win the lottery, I am buying a house there for MOH and I to retire in.
23. The grins, giggles and unexpected cuddles from my friends' children.
24. Fitting into a fabulous dress.
25. Accessories - they maketh the outfit.
26. A glorious, warm, sunny day with blue, blue skies.
27. Learning how to ride a bike, proving that you're never too old to learn something new.
28. My beautiful handbags - I love you all my precious ones.
29. Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche and Annick Goutal Gardenia Passion.
30. Getting dressed to the nines - give me any excuse!
31. Singing and dancing (albeit not very well) to my favourite songs.
32. Watching a musical theatre production - fuels my fantasy of being a Broadway star (see the previous item).
34. Daydreaming - I'm either lazing around a tropical island or I'm a stylist and a published author who also moonlights as a singer (see the previous four items).
35. Nursing a cup of tea while reading celebrity gossip magazines (my guilty pleasure).
36. False eyelashes - if you don't have it, fake it!
37. A pedicure.
38. Lying on a deck chair in the sun with a good book (or pretending to read the book but really having a nap).
39. The wonder of seeing something (a place, piece of nature, monument, historic building or art work) that I've only ever heard or read about, in the flesh.
40. An act of kindness (giving or receiving).
41. When our nearest and dearest are happy themselves - it's simply infectious.
42. Mini-breaks or long holidays with MOH or with our friends - fun, fun, fun with a capital 'F'!
45. Being my sister-in-law's bridesmaid.
46. A love note or card from MOH.
47. The home MOH and I have created - where my heart truly is.
And saving the best for last....
48. MOH - the one who has my heart.
Well that's my Happiness List. At least that's it for now. As the years go by I look forward to adding more to it, and I hope to make it to 100 and beyond. As for those feelings of disappointment, discontentment and self-pity, they disappeared as quickly as a puff of smoke by the time I got to number 3 on my list.
What's on your Happiness List? Think it over and write it down. It'll be one of the best things you can do for you. In a world that can be too busy, a little crazy and sometimes be turned upside down, reminding ourselves of all the reasons of why life is great is nothing short of wonderful.
From me to you, have a very merry holiday season surrounded by everyone and everything that makes you happy!