I’ve accidentally on purpose been away for a little while. Accidentally because I didn’t intend for it to happen, and on purpose because I just haven’t been in the right head space to write. Real life has been going on, and while there hasn’t been a whole lot of hygge recently, I’ve still been basically OK.
When you’re not necessarily feeling great, it’s so easy to get stuck in your head and become a bit self-absorbed. But as the clouds have been parting (literally and metaphorically – hello spring!), I’ve been thinking a lot about the shortness of life and why it’s so important to spend these few years we have on Earth well. By that I don’t mean filling every second of every day with meaning and action (we have hygge to fill in the gaps, right?), but looking after people and acting with kindness and trying to be someone worth knowing. We don’t all have the energy or the mental capacity to radiate these super positive vibes all the time, but when we do, it should always be a priority.
Today I did the Love Languages test (if you’ve never done it before, I really recommend it – it’s not just about romantic relationships, it’s about what matters to you in relationships in general), and I discovered that my favourite way to be shown love is through quality time. I don’t need gifts and I’m not really a touchy-feely person, but it means the world to me if someone is fully present in their interactions with me and listens to what I say. This is also how I prefer to express my love, and I am making a huge effort to spend more time with my very favourite people. It makes me happy just to go to the corner shop with someone or hang out and talk about life, the universe and everything. And this leads nicely into…
… the fact that time is so much more valuable than money. Once you have ‘enough’ money, whatever that means to you, more just ends up being redundant. I know it’s trite, but you can’t take it with you, so you might as well order the expensive cocktail, buy the jumper, get the tickets, whatever will lift your spirits. But more importantly than that, make time for the stuff that matters. I promise you you won’t be on your deathbed thinking ‘God, I wish I’d spent more time in the office’ or ‘I’m so glad I stuck to my guns in that argument and went to bed angry’. Don’t waste any more time than you absolutely have to on things that don’t matter. Try new bars! Go to that show even if you’re not sure it’ll be your thing! Book the spontaneous long weekend in Rome! These are the things you’ll remember – and even if it’s not exactly what you were hoping for, at least you have new stories, experiences and memories.
I’ve also spoken before about the importance of giving compliments. I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions (because my willpower is horrible and I’d rather not fail at something within the first week of a new year), but I guess my informal resolution this year was to be more generous with my compliments. I’m very very happy that I’ve managed to stick to this, and I love telling people when they look great, when they achieve something brilliant, when I recognise a good trait in them or whatever else. I recently made a new friend, and he mentioned that men don’t tend to get many compliments in every day life. I thought about it, and it’s probably true! I shower my gal pals with compliments every single day, but I realised that I need to make sure I’m sharing the love with the men in my life. So that’s my next informal resolution! (and, related to communicating nice things: say please and thank you, say sorry, say I love you more).
I guess the one other thing I want to talk about in this rambly, disjointed, mostly incoherent post is the importance of deriving pleasure from the small things. In an effort to appreciate some of these small things, I made a list, and I’m going to end this post with it to show just how small you can go with your happiness. Even if you’re not bursting into peals of laughter or skipping down the street, anything that makes your day the slightest bit brighter is worth acknowledging. Sometimes happiness is in all the small things.
- Brighton’s bright blue spring sky last Thursday
- The inexplicable smell of candyfloss in the air (there was no candyfloss nearby which made that even more fun)
- Hundreds and hundreds of bubbles from a bubble gun
- Stroking my hand over a beaded velvet cushion (I like the way the soft fabric feels different to the cool beads)
- The few early bursts of blossom in the park
- A black Labrador with a really glossy coat
- The toasty taste of sesame paste
- The way a bao bun feels like cool human skin
- A man playing a horribly out of tune violin in the street (but trying his hardest)
- The way my hair has finally taken to a centre parting
- I wanted a doughnut and bought one and ate one
- A dog in a pub that sat at my feet like it loved me
- Spotify has curated some beautiful playlists for me in the last few weeks
- Everyone keeps telling me I smell nice (I always do)
- Magical bubbly violet bath water
- A colleague’s pen that wrote smoothly
- A few notes in a song that hurt to listen to (in a good way)
- The comforting clay-like texture of avocado
- Pouring rain thumping and jumping in and out of puddles
- When I thought the banana bread I baked had gone badly but it turned out it was OK after all
What’s on your list?