My son’s happiness is obvious, immediate, full throttle. It skitters across his face like a washing line in a gale, a ready kettle of laughter erupting as he expels his joyous energy in jumps, bumps and silly faces. There is no mistaking his delight. I love to watch him. I try to remember that childhood feeling of pure unfettered happiness – a bright yellow pillow-case dancing loose from its pegs and swooping free over rooftops.
My ‘adult’ happiness is different, tempered now with experience, cynicism, so-called wisdom. It can get lost in the busyness of a day. Be over-analysed until it loses its magic. Or stifled by fear of looking silly.
Sometimes the feeling of happiness comes with ease – carried in on the laughter of great friends and family, great weather, great food, a great tune. A wonderful moment easily forgotten the next rainy day as I struggle to manage two grumpy children, piles of dirty washing and a self-inflicted workload. And I wish I was happier.
Prompted by the Happiness Project, I’ve started to record one sentence each day – a sentence that describes a moment when I have been happy that day. Thinking back each night reminds me of all the opportunities I have for joy in my life – those taken, those missed. But even on a miserable day, I’ll find something, perhaps as tiny as a glance at my baby’s perfect sleeping face, that has made me happy.
On other days, I swell with all the moments of joy in my life, and revel in my unbelievable luckiness. Perhaps it’s like the theory that if you smile when you feel miserable, you will feel better. But in the searching for happiness, I find more happiness.
Somehow being aware of a moment of happiness, catching it in your hand and then remembering it later, makes it bigger. Reading back my lists of moments always makes me smile. The more I capture each daily moment, the more I start to notice the happiness ‘in the moment’ itself. And the closer I get to the immediacy of my son’s wicked grin.
If you’d like to give it a go too, take a look at Happy and You Know It. Of course you can record your sentences just for yourself, you don’t have to share them with us. Or you can share your joyous moments here every week for the rest of your life. Whatever makes you happy.