March 20 is International Day of Happiness. As I often do on widely celebrated days such as this one, I'd had a whole post planned to mark the day, but come last Wednesday I found happiness was still something I wasn't quite able to reach in the aftermath of the terror attacks in Christchurch. I gave a halfhearted attempt to pull the post together a couple of times, but it all felt too forced, and I pretty promptly gave up.
I think it's important to sit with your emotions sometimes, to not squash them down but give yourself time to feel them in order to deal with them. In the days following the mass shooting in New Zealand, I felt really devastated and I allowed myself those days to just process that. But I think it's equally important to not let emotions like these become the only thing that our lives centre around. I know for a lot of people that's easier said than done, and I am so thankful that I have never found myself unable to pull out of those feelings of despair that are part of just being human, a part some people really struggle with.
Sometimes we have to make a conscious effort to prioritise joy. Just taking a moment to acknowledge the things which make us happy and realise how many little things there are which make up the fabric of our lives and build the backdrop of our days. There are so many of them, and we don't even notice them for the most part - they're the things that cause the subconscious smile we don't know we're smiling.
So here are just a handful of the things that bring me joy.
Beautiful turns of phrase discovered amongst the pages of a book. Dancing in the kitchen with friends. Feeling dwarfed by Mother Nature. The sound of heavy rain on mum's corrugated iron roof. The feeling of that first sip of coffee going down. The little soft bit behind cats' ears. Making people laugh. The way the condensation frosts up a glass of white wine. The crisp smell of freshly-washed sheets. Jesse's crinkly smile lines. Fairy lights in windows. The smell of the mountains. The way music can make me feel. A perfectly rounded mug cupped between my palms. Soft grass under bare feet. Restaurant staff leaving the shaved Parmesan at the table. A maxi skirt on just-shaved legs. The clicking of a mouse which means an adventure is ahead. Little flying bugs turned magic by the golden hour. The sight of a hand-written letter in the back of the letterbox. The glow of unexpected compliments. Minutes on clocks transforming into memories made. These are the things that bring me joy.