Everyday Things That Make Me Smile
Too often focus is placed on the negative;
what upsets us, makes us uncomfortable, goals we haven’t accomplished,
dreams unfulfilled, people who hurt us, smells that bother us.
I am making a concerted effort to change my focus,
to think of all the things, both big and small, that make me smile,
laugh, or just sigh in a moment of contentment.
• My comfortable bed, enveloped in my comforter, head on two pillows,
whether I’m there by myself and can sprawl out or a little more cramped with two snuggling companions.
• The warmth of just holding a cup of coffee in my hands, breathing in its fragrance, the warm liquid as it trickles down my throat, indulging in too much cream, holiday creamers like pumpkin and peppermint that add to the fragrance and are such nostalgic tastes.
• Waking my kids up in the morning before I leave for work, the way they look and sound when they’re still half asleep, their drowsy attempts at affection
• Having Satellite radio in my car, one of my indulgences I do not regret as I do not have to ever listen to commercials, although on Thursday mornings my guilty pleasure is still listening to War of the Roses on KDWB and wondering if I’ll ever hear some guy I know getting busted on there!
• Heated seats on cold days – how did I ever live without them?
• My children, not sure I even have to elaborate on this one for anyone who is a parent; even seemingly annoying things like when they fight or get mouthy sometimes make me smile as I see them pushing boundaries, growing, learning to resolve conflict and asserting their independence, the way they always have the best stories to tell, how they like to put on performances for me – often working together to create a routine that makes no sense but is hilarious nonetheless, all the funny things they say that I always said I’d write down and never did, how affectionate they are, how openly we can talk, their hopes and dreams and plans for the future, their certainty that they can do anything if they try hard enough, the depth of their thinking and understanding of social, cultural and religious issues that amazes me, their thirst for life and adventure, their laughter whether a small giggle in their sleep or laughter to the point where they almost can’t breath, the sometimes gross things they find funny, when they cook for all of us (Emma’s eggs are DELICIOUS!), their optimism, their creativity, snuggling up and watching scary movies with them, watching tearjerker movies with them and all of us crying, they are my best companions to go camping or on vacation with, the fact that no matter how many mistakes I make they still cuddle up with me and tell me I’m the best mom ever and how lucky THEY are, although I am pretty sure I’m the lucky one.
• I appreciate my city and its twin city more and more every day; the Greenway, parks, lakes, corner stores, Midtown Global Market, Hmongtown Marketplace, farmer’s markets, the music to my ears of so many languages spoken, so many cultures living together, our beautiful Capitol building, vintage stores, thrift stores, record shops, theatres and theaters, improv, hip-hop, music in the parks, movies in the parks, bikes everywhere, microbreweries, a connected and involved populace, hidden gems, works of art, and the plethora of food to choose from – my favorite part.
• Coworkers who can tell when I’ve had a bad day and are there to lift my spirits, attorneys who realize I have a brain and give me challenging work, summer work parties, winter work parties, monthly happy hours, getting together several times a year to give back to the community – and all the planning that goes into each of those.
• When a friend takes the time to call, or sometimes even text, to reach out, invite me out, or just chat. With social media, it doesn’t seem we do enough of that.
• The occasional night out dancing, especially if we are some place where a lot of people are dancing, there isn’t the most room to dance but it doesn’t matter – we’re all just taking in the music, moving to the beat, until we’re either sweaty or feel like we’re going to fall to the floor. Times when we’re not dancing, but have to rush to the dance floor when an AMAZING song comes on!
• An occasional pedicure, a new haircut, eye brows waxed, teeth cleaning at the dentist, a good workout – anything to give me that extra little feeling of renewal, of taking care of this body.
• Holding a baby. I will likely never have more, but as long as others in the world do and I occasionally get to hold theirs – oh, bliss. The way they smell, how perfect and trusting they are, this new little life you can cradle in your arms. I have been known to calm fussy babies or hold little ones who just seem to instantly fall asleep in my arms at the amazement of their parents! Maybe because holding them calms me instantly, maybe because I’m comfy, I’m not sure what it is but it always makes me smile.
• Memories. I know that sometimes I and others hold on too tightly to the past, but there are memories tucked away in there, triggered intentionally by flipping through photo albums or unintentionally by a sound, smell, site – that are worth holding onto. Memories of milestones in your life, of knowing or meeting people who touched your life, of people who are no longer with us and only live on in our memories, of the birth of your children, of lessons learned.
• Red Savoy’s Pizza
• Cleaning something out completely, whether its taking the car to the car wash and then cleaning out and vacuuming the inside of the car or tackling that closet that has been haunting you for months.
• I know I talk a lot about moving away from here, getting away from the misery that is freezing cold and risking your life to drive part of the year, yet overall I love the changing seasons and find things to love about each of them. Summer; kids out of school and playing everywhere, beach picnics, swimming outside, sunshine, camping, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, kids learning independence at two weeks of summer camp, farmer’s markets everywhere, garage sales, festivals and events around every corner. Fall; one of my favorite seasons if I had to choose, changing colors, apple orchards, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, hay rides, haunted houses, the crispness of the leaves beneath your feet, the way the air smells with all the aromas of fall’s pleasures, heartier fall food, Trader Joe’s with pumpkin flavored everything. Winter; such a love-hate relationship, fondest childhood memories around the holidays, Holidazzle parade, Christmas at Dayton’s with their holiday displays and Santa Bears, lights sparkling on every tree downtown, people going all out to have the most spectacular light displays on their houses and in their yards, buying gifts and trying to find just the right thing to put a smile on someone else’s face, stuffing stockings, the smell of other people’s real Christmas trees, drinking hot cocoa, candy canes, egg nog, ugly Christmas sweaters, tubing down snow covered hills, taking the girls ice skating on frozen ponds or temporary ice rinks all over the city even if I am extremely wobbly and terrified of falling, the perfect pair of warm, soft gloves, seeing and hearing about everyone’s family traditions, Christmas music (yes – this atheist LOVES Christmas!), ice sculptures, my kids seeming inability to feel cold when they’re determined to play in it, and this year – I will try skiing which my children already love. Spring; birds chirping again, green sprouting up everywhere, everything coming back to life slowly as the winter’s snow melts, warm rains, more sunshine, baby animals being born, decorating eggs, hiding Easter baskets, the anticipation of warmer days, the winding down of the school year, Spring Break when we almost always plan an overpriced vacation that ends up being amazing.
• Writing. I have always loved writing for as long as I can remember. I have kept countless journals, written hundreds if not thousands of poems. I have begun to write my life stories numerous times. I have written about my opinions, feelings, observations, joys, loss, love, heartbreak. To put some of the things constantly cycling through my head down onto paper is such a therapeutic thing, it helps to clarify jumbled thoughts, sort through difficult feelings, find the lesson that is meant to be learned.
• Reading. Snuggling up and being sucked into a story that you don’t ever want to put down. I love books, especially hard cover books or older books that have that smell of leather or age that has seeped into the pages. I have a Kindle, but I still prefer real books. I also like reading news articles, current events, opinion pieces, nonfiction about politics, religion, science, history. But every once in a while tucked in between all the reading about real life, I need some fantasy, some escape, something that takes me out of this world and into someone else’s adventure.
I have just realized that I could go on and on for pages about all of the things in life I enjoy and that make me smile – why then do I ever let myself get down? I think I’m going to do a few more of these. I just did an entire one devoted to how much I love kissing. Maybe I’ll do one about all the things I like about me? Or one about all the things I like to explore, why I love travelling, the things that make Minnesota great. I think I just unlocked a more positive me and I feel GREAT!
- Midtown Global Market Hosts Day Of The Dead (minnesota.cbslocal.com)