Almost everyday, my wake-up routine is the same: I squint at daylight streaming in through the curtain, sleepily hope I have some more time to sleep while I am pulled into a familiar embrace, wonder where my slippers are so I don't have to step on the cold floor... and then I turn my head left or look up past a stubbled-chin and find a smiling, dimpled, groggy face that wishes me good morning. That smile pretty much lights me up and makes me feel very warm, comfortable, safe and loved. It's a new feeling. At times, that smile also makes me want to cry with sheer relief in being allowed to FEEL without any fear or self-consciousness. That’s new too. Those moments of waking up on most mornings are my happiest in any given day.
The other morning though, the smile was right there, groggy-eyed and dimple-cheeked and even as it registered that I was being woken up for another day ahead, a toe tickled the underside of my foot. My sleep left me instantly and from groggy, I went to grouchy in 2 seconds flat. “DON’T tickle me, you know I HATE it, why do you have to do it first thing in the morning?” I snapped, snarled. The smile vanished as instantly and the temperature in the room dropped by 10 degrees. I was cold and ashamed and much as I wished I had bitten my tongue and not lashed out, words cannot be taken back. Thankfully, the dimpled-smile comes with an even temperament and a magnanimous heart and thankfully after much pouting – my eyes become larger, lower lip hangs to chin and basically I look ugly – I was forgiven.
Why am I talking about wake-up routines? Am getting to that, a little patience please…
Yesterday, on the way to work, Partner suddenly asked me, “What are the things that will make a person truly happy today? Don’t answer immediately, think about it.” Now 32 hours later and having read some stuff here and there, I am STILL thinking. What are the things that will make us truly happy? Some people have a whole lot of money, but they aren’t happy because they want to keep that money and make more. Some bloggers get a whole lot of readers but then they might have to consider shutting down their blog. Some marry the love of their life, and then are not happy because their in-laws don’t accept them or they worry about losing that love. Some get the job of their dreams but then are not happy because their colleagues are forever scheming. What makes us happy?
When addressing the question of ‘what makes a woman happy’, one of Britain’s top feminists, Fay Weldon says, “Nothing, for more than 10 minutes that is.” After the 10-minutes, most women start having doubts about things (heh). I completely agree with her… and irrespective of gender, I think the 10-minute rule applies to most of us. Unless we are the higher beings (I don’t know any) who DON’T want anything or anything else from life, I don’t think it is possibly to be CONTINUALLY happy. We all can have happy moments or happy periods of time, but staying perpetually and all-the-time happy, I don’t think is possible.
The trick then to ensure more happiness is perhaps recognising that it might not always be the big-ticket items that can bring happiness and that it might NOT last forever. Once we do that, we need to maximize our 10-minutes and have more of those. While I don’t think there can be a generic what-makes-people-happy list, here are the 10 random things that make ME happy. Even if it’s just for 10-minutes… and before the doubts begin, me being a woman and all:
1. A cup of cappuccino, just the way I like it: strong and sweet. (Till I start complaining that Barista cannot maintain a consistent taste in its cappuccino)
2. A shopping trip to Sarojini Nagar market and coming home and finding that everything has been a good buy. (Till I start ruing that I should have bought the items I picked up but didn’t buy)
3. A new bra that gives me the perfect 'fit' and lift. (Till I kick myself for not buying two of the same… or faint at the state of the budget; good bras are expensive)
4. A plain, simple pair of jeans -- in my waist size -- that does not have any embellishments, funny buttons or weird embroidery on the arse. (It’s been a year since the last pair and haven’t found any yet. WHY do they over-dress jeans?!)
5. Feeling the skin ease as I slather moisturizer/ baby oil on it everyday after my bath; and the Partner sitting and watching every move. Everyday. What a rush! (Till I complain about how much moisturizing my skin needs and wonder if I have fat thighs and if my tummy is jiggling too much)
6. Watching a good movie, whether it’s a sad one or a happy one. (Till I begin day-dreaming about making a movie and chalk out all the reasons why I perhaps wont’ or can’t!)
7. Reading a good book or blog and smiling through it. (Till I get jealous about writers who are better than me; and there are a whole lot of them)
8. Writing an article/ feature and it becoming the ‘Most Read’ one on the official site and the boss pointing that out. (Till he asks me to do one everyday and I have palpitations wondering if I can… I also have a deadline today. Shit.)
9. A stranger coming up to me and telling me s/he reads me. (Till I wonder if s/he was thinking sex when s/he told me that or if s/he was being sarcastic. It’s called self-doubt)
10. A good night’s sleep followed by waking up smiling and topped with early-morning sex. (Till I get scared that just because I am happy, Life will take him away from me…)
PS: Everyone, DO share the things that make you happy, even if it's for 10-minutes. If you write it as a post on your blogs, leave a link here, else feel free to type away in the comments section. Perhaps I can get some happiness-ideas from you all...