Happiness is…

Just a little while ago I was helping a friend move and I stumbled upon the book, Happiness is a Warm Puppy, by Charles M. Schulz.

And it got me thinking (as all good books do), about what happiness looks like to me, and if it’s very different at all from what happiness looks like to you, or to anyone for that matter. 

Happiness is a warm blanket, and a warm puppy; happiness is finding someone you like at the front door.

But happiness is also the first sip of hot coffee after the kids have gone to school. 

Happiness is finding someone who looks really grouchy and making them laugh whether they like it or not.

Happiness is having some juicy news to share and a good friend to share it with.

Happiness is waking up, rolling over, and realizing you still have hours left to sleep.

Happiness is a concert ticket.

Happiness is realizing that you can have a crush on someone again after you thought for sure that part of you had been pummeled to smithereens.

Happiness is a hot lunch day.

Happiness is stepping on a barely frozen puddle on your morning walk and hearing that loud “crunch” under your boot.

Happiness is finding someone who looks really grouchy and making them laugh whether they like it or not.

Happiness is a really yummy bottle of wine that only costs $12.

Happiness is watching your clumsy dog catch the ball mid-air; extra happiness is when other people see it, too.

Happiness is when your son takes the garbage to the dumpster without being asked. 

Happiness is finding a song with the perfect beat that makes you run faster than usual. 

Happiness is watching snow fall for the first time all year knowing that you’ve got a warm blanket, a warm puppy, a cozy bed, and snow tires.

Happiness is overhearing someone say something nice about you when they don’t realize you’re in the room.

Happiness is being missed. 

Happiness is bravely telling someone how you feel and having them reply: “Me, too!”

Happiness is waving to the elderly lady in her kitchen window as you walk by with your dog every morning. 

Happiness is reading a good book and realizing it’s the first one in a series. 

And finally, happiness is a penis-shaped bookmark

Giving thanks

Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday. Like most things, though, this year I’ll be celebrating slightly differently. 

Instead of piling into my childhood home with my brother and sister and their spouses and children, I’ll be spending the holiday with friends, hiking, laughing, and eating great food, while my kiddos spend the weekend with their dad and his girlfriend.

Funny, then, that change, growth, and the clarity that comes on the other side of it is what I’m most thankful for this year. 

A long list

I’m grateful for soul-filling moments that become frozen in time. Just a few nights ago I convinced my son to come for a run with me. It was a short run — hardly worth the effort from an exercise point of view — but at the end of our run he spotted a patch of dry leaves, grabbed a handful and let them crumble between his fingers. 

“You’ve got to try this, mom! It feels SO GOOD!” 

And so I did. And we stood there, four steps away from the car and for five solid minutes, crumbling leaves in our fingers and covering our shoes in leaf dust. Our cheeks were pink, our hands smelled like fall, and I’ll never drive by that spot without smiling. 

I am thankful for my body, for the way it moves without pain (most days), and for how strong and reliable it is. I’m thankful for the scars that remind me that yes, in fact, I heal.

I’m thankful for clean sheets, floral wallpaper, scented candles (like these amazing ones that my friend’s niece makes), and pink, faux rabbit-fur throw pillows.

I’m thankful for all of the things I didn’t say, the secrets I didn’t spill, and the gossip I didn’t repeat. I’m thankful for the texts I scripted in anger and deleted, and for the ones I received, read, and left ‘seen’ and unresponded to. 

I’m thankful for remote work and videoconferencing, and for the side conversations that go on behind the meetings.

I’m thankful for all of the times over the past year that I’ve screwed up. I know there will be so many more screw ups in future, but at least those ones are behind me.

I’m thankful for the relationships that haven’t worked out, for the roads not taken, and for the lessons that saying goodbye have taught me about myself and the kind of person I want to be. 

More than anything, though, I’m thankful for the relationships that have worked out. For the friendships that are richer now than they’ve ever been. I’m thankful for the life-long bonds, and also for the brand new folks that show up unexpectedly. I’m thankful for the relationships that start off as a few shared gifs in a work chat and an eye roll here or there, and then before you know it, you can’t imagine a day without that bit of connection.

Tell me, what are you thankful for?