Reasons to be cheerful

Over the past couple of months I’ve noticed a certain hash tag cropping up on Facebook and Twitter, a little something called #100happydays. Friends started posting about beaches or chocolate or flowers alongside this tag, and I idly wondered what it’s all about (though it’s pretty darn obvious) but I kept forgetting to look into it properly. This is because my memory seems to be getting worse these days instead of better. I just *slightly* flooded the kitchen on account of leaving the tap running whilst also trying on a new dress and doing a lot of mirror-twirling, until suddenly shrieking ‘Arrrrrrrrrrghhhhhhhh!’ and solving the problem by throwing three giant towels at it. Phew.

So I kept seeing this #100happydays popping up and feeling mildly irritated by it. Not because of my dislike of hash tags, but I couldn’t understand this desire to try and single out one daily thing to be happy about for only 100 days. I have a problem with taking everything literally and at total face value. A few summers ago we lived near Tooting Bec Lido. I went for my first swim there, and when I got home I told H I’d enjoyed it but hadn’t expected it to be so freezing; I thought it was heated and jumped straight in and had never been SO cold, I didn’t want to go again. He said ‘Next time you go to the lido why don’t you wear a wetsuit?’

And I did. When I got home I told him how much better it had been swimming in the wetsuit, but that next time I’d change into the wetsuit when I arrived, as I’d been SO hot in it on the way there.
He looked at me aghast.
‘You didn’t . . . walk to the lido WEARING the wetsuit?’
‘I did,’ I nodded. ‘You said ”Next time you go to the lido why don’t you wear a wetsuit?”. And it was really hot so I won’t do it again.’
Much teasing ensued, in fact still ensues to this day from friends who like to check I’m suitably attired if we are meeting at a pool of any description.

I digress. My issue with 100 happy days was because 2013 was something of a terrible year, aside from one truly wonderful thing; the arrival of Zee, the very best thing that has ever happened to me and H. 2013 showed us that sometimes awful things happen, which cause anguish and devastation and even though life goes on, because that is all it can do, the impact of an accident or a death is deep-rooted and perspective changing.

I couldn’t relate to a concept of only 100 happy days because these days I feel lucky and glad to simply be able to live my life. My charmed, happy, filled-with-love life. My life with my kind and gorgeous husband and beautiful and cheeky baby, whom I love so much it takes my breath away. My life with my family whom I adore and my friends whom I could not be without. This may sound corny and trite but when you see a beloved friend suffering, it makes you wish with all your heart and soul that you could fix everything for them, it makes you say ‘if only’ a thousand times a day.

But #100happydays is more than a hash tag or a fad. I finally looked it up tonight. It’s an amazing idea. It challenges you to just stop and enjoy the moment. The greatest thing I read on the site is that participants say it makes them ‘realise how lucky they are to have the life they have’, which is something I have been pretty fixated on recently.

I’m not going to do #100happydays because these days I feel grateful and happy every day. To quote a line about happiness from Charlotte in the Sex & the City film, ‘Not all day, every day, but every day.’

I would, however, like to write myself a little list of things I want to look back on and remember from the last few months, things that really have made me smile. On account of my sieve-brain, just a few things I don’t want to forget.

1 – Doing a recce for a work event and seeing Willy Wonka and Charlie Bucket rehearsing in a flying great glass elevator. No, I haven’t been drinking. This happened.
2 – London in bloom – back in April walking through Embankment gardens was like being in Amsterdam. So pretty.
3 – Zee’s new trick of running at me with a giant gap-toothed smile, clattering into me and wrapping his arms tight around my neck, burying his face into my cheek. Bliss.
4 – Walking through London at night. It happens so rarely these days, but when it does, I love this city a little bit more every time.
5 – Seeing two friends get married and so clearly having the happiest day of their life – their smiles were mega-watt, the love was everywhere, it was pure joy.
6 – Sunshine, spending all day every day with Zee, being with great friends and their scrumptious girl, G&T’s overlooking a stunning beach, morning runs, evening BBQ’s, mojitos in a bar built in a cliff-face, moonlit beach walks, Pilates with the sea as a backdrop – the perfect holiday that was Menorca 2014. No, I didn’t wear my wetsuit.
7 – Sitting down on the Embankment with H and Zee, sipping smoothies and kicking a ball, Big Ben chiming six pm and signalling teatime.
8- ‘Kicking a ball, kicking a ball, that’s surely the purpose of life after all.’ No I’m not THAT excited about the World Cup, but I am a bit in love with Allan Ahlberg’s genius new book.
9- A bouncy castle and a family party for my niece’s 6th birthday party. There was magic, there was Frozen, there were the best party bags I’ve ever seen.
10 – Afternoon tea for three at The Savoy. Not the first destination you think of for an outing with a toddler, but Zee charmed everyone whilst we sipped champagne and enjoyed being in such swellegant surroundings. And on the way home we found his lost shoe, left for us by a kind person on a wall, I was overjoyed; his first pair of shoes are little feet-shaped treasures.
11 – Outdoor cinema in Vauxhall. Deckchairs, friends, popcorn, gin, Best in Show. Nothing more to say.

3 thoughts on “Reasons to be cheerful

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