July 27, 2016 § 1 Comment
The first present I opened on my birthday this year was a pair of purple socks, now known as the Socks of Awesomeness. Soft, thick and super-fleecy on the inside, they have become treasured possessions. “You’re always complaining that your feet are cold,” smiled the giver. “So I thought these might help.”
Every night as I slip my feet into those wearable foot hugs, I smile, because I remember the person who gave them to me, and their thoughtfulness. And I feel lucky and grateful and rich in ways that have nothing to do with money.
We’ve been sold a dream, you see, and it’s a lie. There are teams of people out there intent on manipulating us into buying more stuff, more things, more bling. If we only own this house, drive that car, wear these clothes or look exactly like that, they tell us, we’ll be happy.
But the older I get, the more I realise: that’s not where happiness lives. Happiness lives in the ordinary, everyday things so many of us take for granted.
Happiness lives in puddle-splashing and rain on the roof, in spectacular thunderstorms that threaten to tear the night sky in two. Happiness lives in hot tea on a cold day, in the laughter of children and the soft skin on my dog’s belly. Happiness lives in the smell of cinnamon, and the sound of the ocean, in hugs and whispered endearments, in the perfect lyric of your favourite song. It lives in late night messages from someone who just happened to be thinking about you, in the perfect sun puddle on a winter’s day, in the sound of the birds in the early dawn. It’s in the comfort of your own bed, the feel of grass beneath your bare feet, in sand between your toes. It lives in a blinking dew drop on a perfect rose.
So you can chase after all of those things; the things they say you must have. You can toil with one eye on the future, concentrating on how happy you’ll be when you finally get there. But to do so is to miss the here and now, the moment-by-moment instances of pure joy that are calling for your attention, and which don’t require you to earn any more or work any harder or be any better.
All they require is for you to be present and observant. To pause for just a moment and notice what’s going on around you. To see that there’s a beauty in the ordinary; there’s magic to be found. It may not be where you thought you’d find it, but it’s magic nevertheless.