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9.06.2011

on forcing one's self to look up. and the fight that ensues.




































i saw a mouse on friday night. a live one.

i was sitting in the living room watching dateline's lived to tell the tale when something caught my eye.

a mouse. moving.

i have dealt with every kind of bug situation since moving to new york. ants and roaches, bed bugs and larvae, maggots and dead pigeons (those two were related, as it turns out).

but not a mouse. not. a. live. mouse.

so i sat on the couch and willed the thing to go away. but just as i began to relax, it thought the coast clear and would attempt to run from the hallway to the kitchen (food!) and i would let out a squeal and back it would go.

you see, i was a little undone by this wee of the mouse. but that poor mouse was absolutely terrified of me--this notion upset me all the more.

and so i began to cry. not too much, but enough to know that i wasn't really crying because of the mouse.

something bigger was at play here.

and to some extent i know what that something is, but also i haven't a bloody clue and how is that possible?

i'm pretty sure it has to do with shifting terrain and the sense that at any moment--should i make the decision--my world will open wide. and there will be light. or absolute darkness. or something in between.

{ahhh, that familiar territory of the unknown i so adore}.

but back to the mouse. so there i was: crying. legs pulled up under me on the couch. friday night. dateline on the television. and i made a decision.

i did what any manhattan-dwelling single-woman in her mid-twenties (actually, let's take a moment to clarify that, shall we? mid-twenties. not late-twenties. mid. MID-TWENTIES. got it? okay) who's home alone on a friday night would do: i ran to the bathroom, drew a bath, and locked myself in there. mouse be damned.

and when i finally emerged, a little bit cleaner and a little bit calmer i clomped about the apartment in flip-flops, trying to scare the thing back to wherever it had come from. out of site. out of mind.

i haven't seen it since. knock on wood.

more worrisome than the mouse is the nagging sense that i'm not feeling totally well--the tears brought on by something bigger than myself.

that old sadness creeping in.

sleeping a little bit more than usual. eating a little bit more than usual (and by a little bit, i mean, a lot).

it's always a humbling experience to find myself face to face with the eating disorder once more. mostly because there are things you forget--experiences and moments and memories your body protects you from. like how you sometimes remain as still as possible so as to not feel yourself in a body that is just a little bit bigger and a little bit less yours.

but then there are moments that pull you out. in the form of a kind boy with big eyes who's far more interesting than the burrito before you, or a night out at a bar in chicago that words will never fully do justice, or the man who wants to kiss you even when you're wearing that old, navy blue dress you only pull out when you feel you need both a little more coverage and a little more breathing room (i have an inkling he hasn't a clue about the dress. and even if he did, he wouldn't really care).

i know enough to know that this steep pendulum swing between being just fine and ever, so off-kilter is always--without a doubt--the period of the most growth. i come out better for it. and as a very lovely friend said to me the other day, it always passes. and there is such comfort in that. 




happiness.

it was at a slip of a table at a restaurant in midtown west four years ago that a conversation took place. happiness is a choice. that's what we settled on, circled around. it's a choice. i can't tell you how many times i've returned to that place, that time, that thought. turned those words over in my hands, swallowed them whole and felt them burning at the pit of my stomach.

but then just recently i came across the wise words of ayn rand:

Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness. 


fight for your happiness. don't just choose it, fight for it. somehow that seems more apt. the actor in me understands that: the difference between those two verbs is an intensity of action. and the more active the verb, the more interesting the choice.

fight for your happiness. and value yourself. of course.

easier said than done, but an exciting proposition no?

i read an article in the huffington post this morning about what makes a person happy, really happy. and how mostly it's the small things.

and lord knows i've blogged about this before. (here and here, most recently).

but because right now i'm feeling a bit like i really need a tangible list of weapons with which to fight i want to include an addendum to my previous cocktail for happiness.






so here goes. addendum. (other things that make me happy. in no particular order)...

when my father sends me clippings from the new york times. (and they arrive the old-fashioned-way: posted mail).

speaking of my father, when i look down at my wallet--my absolute mess of a wallet and i know in that moment--in that absolute instant that i am actually my father's daughter. (i'm not daddy's little girl. never have been, never will be, because i am my father. i am his daughter, for better or worse, i am his child--nervous stomach, messy wallet and all).

when my parents do something--have a little argument, make coy comments, and i am reminded that even after all this time, they still love each other enough to poke fun and be willing to laugh.

always having a set of concert tickets in the little, white box atop my dresser. (someday i'll write about this year in which i became bold simply by listening to really good music).

pretty bowls. dried lavender. a long, slow brunch. getting dressed up--from the shower to the makeup to properly chosen under-garments (note to self: rid drawer of that pair of bridget jones-esque underwear {you know the pair, the terrible control top pair that is only okay when seen by no one but herself {actually, even then, it's questionable}) .

turning the subway into a movable cafe with a to-go latte in one hand and good book in the other. pulling the dirty clothes off my reading chair just long enough to actually read in it (a novel idea!). a good pun. the weight that is lifted the moment i finish my laundry. the promise of a good first-date. a really good literary illusion.





i gave myself two goals this week--two tangible things to pull myself from that metaphorical couch on which i sit, legs folded, afraid of a mouse for goodness' sake!

1. to try a new recipe each day. and 2. to lug a camera everywhere. that's it. that's all. a goal. and a gift to myself.

so do tell, won't you. what are the tangibles you pull out? what are your happiness triggers? i want to add to the list, make a communal one from which we call all draw...a starting place from which to fight for happiness.




(post script: happy tuesday).

61 comments:

Danielle - theoxfordcomma said...

I always find my old sadness creeping in during autumn, since it was this time of year when I very first felt its unwelcome presence. Your reminders of tangible, small things, that we can cling to for a moment of serenity, or happiness, are always welcome. I need to remind myself of them more often.

Getting up in the morning, having everything in its place, having a reason to go out and get something done - they're usually enough to keep my wolf at bay. But, when I really need to pull myself out of a funk, I find a new recipe. Time in the kitchen, concentrating on something else. That time is treasured, special.

(What a long comment! Oh dear!)

Julia said...

Meg,
I love this post. And I believe I am at a similar place at the moment. Learning to keep perspective and enjoy the little things. It is those little things that keep me happy day to day. They serve as reminders that happiness is a choice. That is the perfect way to put it. Happiness certainly is something to fight for, but that fight is what makes me feel present and I am thankful for it.
As for the little things, I've come to enjoy the extra hour I give myself in the morning to wake up and enjoy that cup of coffee before getting ready for the day. And for giving myself that extra hour to catch up on things I enjoy, such as your blog, before I must scurry out to work. I have also come to really enjoy and appreciate that 45 minutes I must spend on the bus to get into the city and get to class. In light of classes starting again for me this week, that bus ride is the one time I allow myself to sit and stare out the window, play a stupid game on my phone, or catch up on a book I actually want to read.
Sorry I just wrote you a novel, but I just really connected to this post! Thanks :)

Felicia said...

What an evokative post. Thank you for reminding me to fight for happiness. Sometimes, just choosing happiness is a little too passive for me, and I am quickly overwhelmed by negative emotions. Fighting seems a lot more substantial. Also, I love those two goals you gave yourself for the week.

as for happiness triggers: waking up early in the morning and feeling the still quiet all around me as if I'm the only one awake. beautiful textiles brought back from my travels. creating something delicious in the kitchen. putting in my headphones and listening to music when i just want to lose the rest of the world. soft pillowcases perfectly worn from use.

p.s. I hope the mouse finds a new home somewhere else!

Michelle Kendrick Hartney said...

Love what you wrote. You are always nailing it!
As for my joy triggers:
piping hot coffee with milk and a cookie,
getting lost in a good book or movie
running
seeing great art in a museum
drawing
sewing
a good talk with my husband
smelling my dog's forehead
nursing my baby girl

Michelle Kendrick Hartney said...

One more thing. Have you read the book You Are Here by Thich Nhat Hanh? I highly recommend it.
I hope you have a good day today.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog by accident and have been reading for a bit. This same thing happened to me when I was living alone in my mid-20s. I had not one, but TWO mice and it sent me into a tailspin of crazy for a little while. What made me the saddest was that I was fighting the mice alone, and there wasn't a big strong man to help me. Which feels so silly and un-feminist to admit, but its true. I barricaded myself in my bedroom (where I had not seen a mouse) and put piles of books in front of the bottom of the door so a mouse couldn't sneak in. I probably lived in my bedroom only for about a week.
So, forgive yourself this reaction. Its the most normal reaction ever. And once you catch that sucker, you will feel so empowered.

Alexandria said...

Uploading photos from my camera. Seeing happy faces I've captured sprawl across my screen, larger than life.

A fantastic cup of coffee. So perfect you almost don't want to have it every day so you can keep appreciating how good a good cup of coffee tastes.

Cupcakes. Cupcakes always solve everything for me.

I hope your mouse doesn't come back. And keep working on happiness :)

Jackie Norris said...

I can easily get caught up in the to-do's of everyday and forget to really live... to take joy in the little things. For me, I love getting lost in words, watching an episode of 30 Rock (or Seinfeld), seeing my baby smile, snuggling under a blanket, baking, learning something new.

BuoyantlyBlithe said...

I hate mice.

My happiness triggers are: my grandmother, blogging, studying, taking photos, shopping, drinking a good chai tea latte, and thrifting.

forward [e]motion said...

"i'm pretty sure it has to do with shifting terrain and the sense that at any moment--should i make the decision--my world will open wide. and there will be light. or absolute darkness. or something in between."

i am standing out there in the unknown with you, meg.
it is crazy scary sometimes, but i adore the mystery and the fullness and the promise that the in-between days hold.

i love reading your posts (and all the great comments too!) and like everyone else seems to say - i often feel like you're going through something similar/exactly the same as me it's kind of lovely and reassuring and human how we're all going through these motions. you just seem to put them into words so well!

happiness triggers number 1 and 2:
1. standing outside. no matter what the weather. preferably at night. standing still and feeling everything around me.
2. cups of tea. lots of them. big armchair and a book.

bel. xx

Ana Magdalena said...

the tangibles I pull out are always the same:

1. baking by myself while dancing to my favorite tune(s)

2. cooking a new meal while enjoying a glass of wine and singing my lungs out.

3. a nice work-out

4. new nail polish

5. reading a Jodi Picoult novel.

forward [e]motion said...

....and yes a thousand times to fighting for your happiness!

i suddenly have a hunger to hunker down with an ayn rand novel. it's been so long. no one writes a 40 page monologue like her.

and ana magdalena: yes! baking and dancing is the best!

bel. xx

christine said...

I find my sadness creeping in when good things are coming into my life. I start to feel a bit afraid or believe that I don't quite deserve what is front of me. So, thank you for the timely reminder to fight for happiness.

Hang in there!

By the way, I had a mouse in my dishwasher last fall. It was definitely unsettling to say the least...

Valesus said...

Thank you Meg for this blog, wich is right now one of my happiness triggers. It feels so good to read someone dealing, way better than me, with the experience of learning how to be happy, and also you write it down in the most lovely and sincere way. Greetings (saludos) from México.

Lottie said...

I found a mouse in my living room this weekend too. But you are kinder than me, I called a man in to rid my flat of all mice that may be unknown roommates.

This post is exactly where I have been lately and hopefully, fingers crossed, I am clearing my head, getting some understanding and much needed perspetive, and now I know what I want.

Joy triggers have to be:
Hearing the click when I take a photo on my camera
Laughing
Meeting up with someone, it makes you feel 100% better because you realise you aren't alone
A fresh blue sky morning when there is a chill in the air
a latte, especially a gingerbread one,
music
reading a really good book
finding a treasure
baking something to share.

xxx
{PS sorry for the really long post!}

Johanna said...

What makes me happy is being home alone and preparing a big breakfast - or just a more complicated breakfast than a sandwich and coffee - for myself. Like English breakfast muffins, or a version of huevos rancheros, and eating it with myself and a book. In silence.
And take walks in this lovely fall weather. Finish a book and start a new one. Send an e-mail.
I should make a proper list.

Anonymous said...

Happiness triggers:
-Running over the Queensboro bridge into Manhattan and drumming my fists in the air to the music playing in my headphones
-(Speaking of which) Really, really good quality noise-cancelling headphones
-new notebooks
-going down the street to my coffee place where they start making my usual coffee as soon as they see me walking in
-concerts
-an expensive jar of delicious almond butter
-talking with smart children
-looking at photos of otters
-seeing a new play alone
-candles that make a room smell like any sort of bread you'd bake in autumn

Carolyn said...

This post couldn't come at a better time. I'm finding reasons to choose happiness over despair and looking anew at the little things like buying pretty fabric for curtains or decorating my apartment with vintage black and white photos.

As a late-twenties girl who lived through a mouse, you might know this but check under your sinks where the plumbing is. There should be a hole around where the pipes come out of the wall. Stick some steel wool in the hole to prevent any other mice from getting in to your nice warm home :)

becky said...

I adore your honesty. That--that is what makes me happy. A woman not afraid to say these things--things of the mind that others shrug off; look over; do not give the time to. Too many people do not nurture themselves: they do not allow themselves the time to get to know their heart or their soul or their nerves. That, I think, is what I'm learning--because I'm guilty of it too. Until this year, I shrugged: now I develop. I find the thing that helps me most is that journal I keep under my bed (in the least teenage way--don't worry, it doesn't have a lock: it's just easy to get to, there, and I'm trying to de-clutter). In that journal I'm starting to write rawly and honestly and, I hope, without censorship. It pushes realisations (you know, those ones that rest at the tip of our tongue?) and allows me to evaluate, understand, think through.

Someone else has already quoted this line in their comment but I want to, too. It speaks to me. It yells at me.

"i'm pretty sure it has to do with shifting terrain and the sense that at any moment--should i make the decision--my world will open wide. and there will be light. or absolute darkness. or something in between."

Lately I've felt I'm not at the right place in life. That, at twenty-two, I should have done more things. I should be living independently and such and such and such. But I haven't because of that fear: the fear that things will open wide, that there will be darkness. In my greatest hopes I envision light and joy and prosperity but that darkness--it always forces in. It's reassuring to me that other's feel it. I suppose that, too, makes me happy. Not that others DO feel it, as such (I would not wish that on anyone), but that it's more common, more accepted and more, shall we say, fought through? than I let myself believe.

You're not alone, Meg. Never alone. I'm standing on that table with you--that mouse just happens to be the things I need, desperately, to do. And the places I need to see. And the decisions--the important ones--I feel ever prone to make. You inspire me to be, you know. And that's the best pest-control I know.

Anonymous said...

Also, I think everyone is writing really lovely things and several people keep apologizing for their long posts! Not necessary, in my opinion :)

Natasha said...

When I was in my early 20s (20 and 21), I lived in a place near a field that was infested with mice, so I had to learn how to deal with them then and that still only makes it only minimally easy to deal with them now (only 6 years later).

As for the things that make me happy, there's only three: waking up in the morning with my blanket wrapped around me like a lover, writing until I have no more ideas left in my head and good music drowning out the rest of the world.

meg fee said...

dear everyone: this morning, i could not (could. not.) love you all more.

Anonymous said...

Have you read the happiness project? It's great; reminded me of this post! You should definitely check it out.

K.J.D.L said...

I think you are lovely.

My happiness triggers:
Rain on the window,

A walk where I see no one but myself because I am inside myself,

Reading The Book of Mormon before I even try to get out of bed, by the light that is just starting to permeate my bedroom,

And a loud, gorgeous, session of instrumental music booming through my speakers while I imagine myself to be anywhere and with anyone I'd wish.

Alivia said...

Oh sweet Meg. This post sums up so perfectly why I changed my blog name to what it is today. That brunch in April, with two friend soulmates, telling each other secrets and stories and exchanging big, comforting hugs in the form of understanding glances.
My tea makes me happy. My rainboots. Devouring a book on a day off. Teaching ballet. A bath in the morning. A man stopping to pet my dog on our walk. So many things, dear.
I will read this post over and over again. Thank you for the inspiration.

kim said...

Happy, Rainy Tuesday to you! I moved to NYC almost 5 months ago and at around the 3 month mark I was engulfed by the loneliness and isolation of this great city. During that time I had lots of lovely walks in Central Park, lots of cookies and lots of watching dogs at the dog runs. They are my happiness triggers and I am happy to say that I am now embracing this city for all its worth. I hope you get yourself a good latte and enjoy this rainy day with a lovely novel.

siddathornton said...

i'm going to keep fighting.

and i have two goals for myself also:

1. eating healthy foods every day this week.

2. completing one diy project.

thank you for this post. you always offer the kind of inspiration i need.

i hope your week is a good one.

Leighana said...

Meg,
I wrote a post of the same theme this morning. Fighting for your happiness. But of course I wimped out and it's sitting in my drafts along with a few other scary(for me to publish) posts. But I thank you for having the guts to write. I am always feel comforted by reading youre writing.

sweetliesandtrickery said...

Dear Meg,

THANK YOU for this post. Early/mid twenties are terrifying. I have been feeling that sinking feeling for the last couple of days/weeks, the toes-on-the-edge-of-a-quicksand feeling, and this post has reminded me to fight for happiness. Happiness in a clean room, a walk in the London rain, seeking out company and not trying to avoid it, a good book or film, a cigarette in the park (I know it's bad, but it's calming). And tea, especially when one is tempted to binge on anything else. And if all else fails - videos of penguins on youtube. They just seem to calm.

Cassie said...

happiness triggers:

fresh homegrown tomatoes.
finding ways to make my children laugh.
curling up with a book.
perfect light for photos.
hearing a favorite old song on the radio.
mountain air.
people who hold doors.

Alissa said...

Meg, after I read the first few lines of this post I forced myself to stop and do something else for a bit. Because I knew I wanted to savor it, that you would be honest and funny and just perfect. Oh, how I can relate to every last thing you wrote. About the eating, about the dress, about that awful mouse that can drive one absolutely insane. And I also realized that I adore your readers. Their comments have been just as sweet and thoughtful.

Thank you, as always.

KerryRose said...

I know you already have like a billion comments here, but I have to tell you how much this post meant to me....and how true your words ring. Happiness has always been kind of elusive for me. Choosing it is the easy part. But, like you said, it's the fight that counts.


Can't get enough of your writing.

BrightEyedWashingtonian said...

a good run, a yoga class, and an excellent night of sleep, followed up by a perfect cup of coffee the next morning are exactly what make me happy, calm, and content.

I've made it a point to do these, consistently... and it seems like my life (friends, family, work, and man) is falling into place. find your happy place and fight to stay there. you deserve every little bit of it.

jorjiapeach said...

thank you for this. i always appreciate your writing.

A Sunday Kind Of Love said...

just last night i saw a HUGE spider in my bathroom and i asked my dad to come kill it, but he refused (living with my parents at the moment, saving up to move out...it sucks). i was simultaneously frustrated that he wouldn't kill it for me (or that i didn't have a boyfriend who could), and annoyed with myself that i wanted a man to help me with bugs.
trying to think of some happiness triggers, but totally distracted by thoughts of bugs now...

Carrie Rosalind said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I think that you and I are on the exact same path right now...and I am so so thankful that you put your/our thoughts in to such beautiful writing. It makes me feel much less alone.

And eek about the mouse! I hope he stays hidden forever!

Jessica said...

Oh I love this post!


Things that make me happy:

eating breakfast in the outdoors in front of a lake

looking at a big sky full of stars (can you tell I live in a small town?)

playing video games

watching television and movies

getting lost in a good novel (read: A Song of Ice and Fire Series)

times spent with family

a good curl on the couch

Erin said...

A fight for happiness -- I like this thought. I'm currently learning to fight for my happiness as I look for a new job and even a new house. (My husband just found a job in a new location.) I don't want "just another job" but I need to make an income... so I'm learning to do what's necessary while also doing what makes me happy. It's tough. But I can do it. :)

Mel said...

Coffee drunk slowly
Baking: From the measuring, to the way the oven gradually warms the kitchen around it
Listening to This American Life while cooking or washing dishes or doing anything, really
Long car rides
Saying I love you to friends and hearing it back
Visiting the library and feeling the energy of knowledge
A walk at dusk
Waking in time to watch the sunrise without ever getting out of bed
Hula hooping to hip hop music in my kitchen
Making up my mind and deciding on something - whether it's what's for dinner or what to wear, I always feel accomplished.

xo, Mel.

The Lewicutt's est 2006 said...

I find it intriguing that we all too often seem to be at the "same place"... I'm with you on the whole "should I make the decision-- my world will open wide" thing. It's scary and exciting all at once.

On to the tangibles: Definitely a camera, wine, and just... creating.

Alex said...

You always seem to write about things that I desperately need to hear. Thank you for that.

I find so much happiness in my friends. Even more so in the support they constantly give, especially when I least expect it.

Oh, and Nutella. Definitely.

allienotsally said...

I just want you to know how much I LOVE and anticipate reading your blog posts each day. Seriously, it's one of those things that make me happy. One of those little things. :)

I even wrote about your writing and your blog for a daily writing assignment in my english class.

Please keep writing... forever. :)

Sonja said...

I so agree with allie, your posts actually do make me happy ...and reassure me of things in some strange way. I read your post earlier this morning, it's just filled with so many things I wanted to comment on and related to, that I didn't even know where to begin...and I guess I still don't. (haha what a pointless comment huh?).
well anyway this morning I noticed one thing that makes me happy that I hadn't noticed before: people nodding, smiling and acknowledging you as you pass as if to say hello (I was running at the time, and so were most of them). It was nice, I got a boost of energy every time it happened for some reason. heehee

Sonja said...

Oh and I just want to add that music is such a good one. I've love the music you've been posting on here! and funny you should mention the concert tickets cause I was just talking to a friend yesterday saying how I want to try and go to a concert a month this semester to keep my self sane when my sleep deprivation masters begins again.
oh and in that article: biking downhill...brilliant! :o)
ok I'll stop with the comments now.

Kate said...

I know this feeling well. I don't know what it is but sometimes I just get so depressed and in a rut I don't know what to do with myself. Most of the time I dance around to music in my bedroom. Or throw pillows at the walls.

ashlee said...

this post reminded me of a quote from elizabeth gilbert's "eat, pray, love" that i loved.

" . . . people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like a fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. but that’s not how happiness works. happiness is the consequence of personal effort. you fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. you have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. and once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it."

for years now i've been writing a list, every week, of things that made me happy that week. it's safeguarded me from getting lost in sadness or monotony. and most of the time it really is the small things that make it on the list.

my lists are posted on my blog under the category "an infinite amount of happiness"

http://aclaybasket.blogspot.com/

Helen said...

'Thank you' just doesn't seem to enough for your post. As a mid-twenties female, who has slipped into old eating cycles recently, is feeling utterly lost and miserable in her dead end job and basically waiting for something to change, you have hit home to me. I won't be happy unless I actively pursue that feeling. Why didn't I realise/admit this before?? Sometimes you have to stop waiting for your world to change, and change it yourself. I also recommend a visit to the Happiness Project website, my man left the address on the coffee table once when I was mid-episode, and it is pretty interesting. Thank you Meg!

The Popcorn Bowl said...

I had mice in my apartment once, two -- one right after another. I was living in Memphis at the time and it had just gotten cold and I guess they had run into a bunch of homes across the city. There is something about the idea of them running over my feet that eeks me out to this day. I too hid in my bedroom and put towels and a cardboard box over the open space at the bottom of the door. Yes, I am a grown woman.

nancy said...

what an absolutely important post. I'm feeling the same way lately... less motivation, less inspiration, much more food... that familiar feeling... eating until i'm uncomfortable and yet wanting to find more. putting a name to that behaviour scares me... but I am taking baby steps.

the first step to happiness for me is calming myself. deep breaths, pressing my thumb and forefinger together tightly... then looking up. the tops of buildings, the blueness of the sky peeking through the branches of trees, patterns in the clouds... maybe there's something physiological that happens when we lift our heads... or maybe the world is just more beautiful up there.

happiness though? happiness for me is connecting with nature. it's the smell of breakfast that wafts through the air in the early morning. it's that look from a lover that really makes you understand how he sees you...
I try to focus on these things... write them down, try and capture them on film.
and yes, taking photos and cooking new recipes makes me peacefully and humbly happy too.

nancy said...

ooh! and music! especially soundtracks from favourite shows and movies. magic :)

brandisimmons said...

What an incredibly powerful quote. Indeed Miss Meg, fight for it. We all deserve it, even more so in the times we think we don't. It definitely something I'm currently working on in my life, so know you are not alone.

As far as things to shake off the funk, I highly recommend keeping a folder on your computer of baby animal pictures. It's a great quick fix. Or losing yourself in a mindless task, like chopping vegetables, where you're forced to focus on what's in front of you instead of being in your head. It's oddly zen, for me anyway.

Good luck! Don't let that mouse get the best of you.

wildchild said...

beautiful post. my happiness triggers start with a love story and a blanket on the lawn and usually end up with a good, sweaty workout when i'm thankful for all that my body can do.

layne said...

this is such a great post! You have a way with words... My happiness triggers are: finding new music, red nail polish, stepping on crunchy leaves, long drives, photography, writing, dreaming about Italy, long showers, family contact, new books. This list is long and I'm learning to make it longer. Someone once told me to do something every day specifically for me. fight for it. it'll come.

Days Careen said...

What a lovely post and what is even lovelier is that the overwhelming response is that people's happiness comes from small, everyday things that are accessible to everyone.

What I mean is that we are constantly fed the perception that people strive for material possessions, career success and social standing but these responses just prove that actually all people need to be happy are the free and natural things in life.

The small moments of happiness that allow us to deal with the big things in life.

Jennila said...

I had the same meltdown when I saw a flying cockroach (or something that resembled such a horrendous creature). It was one thing too much and I lost it.

Happiness... It comes from talking to my favorite teachers, photo, spontaneous hugs from friends and third graders, and babysitting the cutest boy in the world.

Caroline said...

I really love your blog. It is so uplifting to know that I am not the only one who sometimes struggles with being alone and your writing style is wonderful. I'm transitioning from married to single and it will be a huge adjustment for a person who never has had to make it on their own. Your blog is quite inspiring, especially posts like this.

I have to say that I am relishing the wonderfully cool mornings that Georgia is having these days (things actually dipped down into the 50s today!). I love fall but we don't get much of one here. I've rediscovered the joy of a plain latte from a favorite coffee shop. The silliness of my small dogs at play and their snuggles and cuddles at bed time. Knowing that even if I feel alone in my empty apartment, they are so much happier just having me there.

Juliette said...

Every women on earth are feeling the way you feel at least once (once a week in my particular case).

Things who makes me happy are pretty much the same than Shauna Niequist in "Cold tangerines", and even reading this making me smile, so it's a good start, right?

http://cansouplover.blogspot.com/2011/09/i-want.html

Faith Mason said...

This was such a great post. I too have been feeling a little down lately so reminding me to think of the joy triggers in my life has been amazing. For me laughing is incredibly important. And I love to stand on top of a mountain and feel the wind rush round me.

audrey said...

oh. my. goodness.
a MOUSE ran across MY floor friday night too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! for the first time! and we live on the 5th floor--and have so for the past 4-5 years in boston! so, talk about surprise. i about peed in my pants. i got even more upset bc i was GETTING so upset about such a tiny little creature. sigh... the fretting, tears, running to the bathroom, the clomping around in flip flops--made me laugh so hard bc that's exactly what i was doing over here ; ) ))))

i absolutely loved this post, by the way. looooved.

michal said...

books and coffee and long drives and music, of course, help to dull the sadness, cover it with a warm blanket. but the thing i've discovered only really banishes it to whence it came is looking at myself-i mean really, really taking a long hard look at myself-without saying or thinking anything. no criticisms or compliments; just self appraisal. and then finally saying to myself "i am great. i need nothing but myself to make me happy."

that's just what works for me.

Anonymous said...

There are lots of little things, books, art, conversation, music, self-acceptance mantras, sunshine, but. I find those are only band-aids sometimes. I find that I cannot always depend on any of those things to make me step away from the edge, so to speak.

The only dependable fool-proof way I've found to chase the sadness, anxiety, over-active brain, the insomnia and what have you away, the one way I find 100% of the time, without fail gets me out of the darkness is EXERCISE.

This is a recent discovery for me. I spent years and years being more of an "indoor" person, i.e. I never played sports and thought the inside of a gym was for idiot frat boys. I mean I still kind of think that - my exercise of choice is rigorous yoga, but if the gym's what you prefer, great - really anything that gets the heart rate up will do it!

Whenever I feel the darkness creep in, whenever my brain starts spinning into sad places, I get in the car and go to yoga before there's another thought in my head. And after THAT is when I use the smaller things like books and such...

:)