I was walking home yesterday, down 18th street in Manhattan, with a bunch of plastic bags in my hands, cutting into my fingers. My forehead was clammy and gross and sweaty from sitting in our office, which was overheated all day. I was wearing a coat that was too heavy and my work bag pulled at my shoulder while I walked.
But in that moment, as the sun set over New York and a breeze swept past my face, despite the bags and the sweat and the too-heavy coat, I felt happy. I don’t know why, but it happens sometimes, happy brain chemicals firing off for no reason during mundane moments of the day. A warm, fuzzy feeling behind my ears and in my stomach and through my chest that says, “This moment is good. Things are good. Life is good.” Maybe it’s because it felt nice to be outside in the cool air after sitting in a hot building all day, or because the weather in New York was finally breezy and bearable, or because I bought a new jacket that actually fit around my chest. But in that moment, life felt good. And it felt good to let that happy moment happen, to enjoy it as it passed through, and appreciate the good thoughts it inspired, like how happy I’d be to get home and eat dinner and watch TV, how happy I am with my job and the people I’m around every day,
Seconds later, I’d be struggling through a subway turnstile and pushing through a crowd of rushing strangers and spilling a sticky iced coffee down my shirt. But it felt good to have that moment of uncontaminated happiness and satisfaction, sandwiched though it was between moments of stress and strain.
It made me think about how harsh we are about happiness on the Internet, and in entertainment more broadly, where misery and snark and negativity is often the default. The people we most mock are often the people who are innocently enjoying their own moments of happiness, however banal they seem to the rest of us (e.g. anybody on Facebook who gets a dumb promotion I don’t care about.) The point is, we’ve created this space where it’s weird and cheesy to just say, “Hey. I’m happy.”
But life is hard and exhausting and awkward. Happy moments — moments of pure contentment when nothing feels wrong — feel less frequent than moments that aren’t perfect.
So let’s cherish the happy moments when they come.
10 things to be happy about this week
1. The first warm day of spring (even if it immediately returns to winter the next day.)
2. Finding the perfect coat that will hide whatever alcohol I drop on it.
3. Hot lunch delivery guy and all the sweet, innocent beauty he offers this wretched world.
4. Guinea pigs in tiny wigs, which are, definitively, the cutest animals in tiny wigs (followed closely by mini pigs, hamsters, puppy pugs, and raccoon who lives beneath my window).
5. Eating chocolate fudge brownie ice cream in bed and not getting any difficult-to-explain brown stains on the sheets.
6. Iced Oprah chai lattes, which I have on good word are personally concocted in every Starbucks machine by a miniature clone of Oprah herself, a copy of which I keep as a loyal pet.
7. Finishing a book and shoving it in everybody’s face.
8. Tom Daley’s cakes, which I will continue to focus my “FOLLOW ME” energies on for the days and weeks to come.
9. Doughnut holes, the beautiful butt holes of the breakfast pastry world.
10. Guys with good shoes.