50 things that make me happy – part 1

Perhaps the simplest but deepest wisdom is just being happy.

With my 50th birthday less than three weeks away, I decided to list 50 things that make me happy. This list is in no particular order and by no means is it complete. I’ve left off the big and obvious ones – my friends, family, job and health.

1         Daffodils daffodil

2.       A shower after a hot, dirty, sweaty day.
3.       Bright winter days so cold the snow squeaks
4.       Magic. Fairy tales. Fantasy. Sci-fi. Take me away, baby!
5.       Treasure hunts, scavenger hunts, geocaching… even a word search game.
6.       Travelling – all the new places, faces, smells, sights, foods and sounds that challenge, delight, intrigue and excite.
7.       Those first green shoots in the garden. After months of Canadian winter, they are a thrill and a promise.
8.       Ringing church bells

9.       Eggs. I love what they represent. I love their shape. I love the way they look and feel. I love their incredible fragility and yet they have the strength of a dome structure (bet you can’t crush a chicken egg in your hand).eggs

10.   The smell of tomato plants in the sun.
11.   Swimming and playing in the water.

12.   Philosophical debates

13.   Pine trees – the way they smell, their wooden, fractal-inspired cones and their deep moan on windy nights

14.   Board games. I loved them as a kid and I still love them now.
15.   Songs from the ’80s. I was a teenager then and no music is more evocative for me.
16.   The first cup of coffee in the morning.
17.   Skeletons and skulls.skeleton
18.   Sincere compliments – giving and getting them
19.   Really good shoes – especially red ones.
20.   Hallowe’en – the colours, the candies, the dressing up and costumes, the spooky fun and giggly scares.
21.   Nuzzling the warm little nape of a baby’s neck and smelling that baby smell.
22.   No alarm clocks. I love a morning where I don’t have to be up by a certain time even if I rarely sleep in.

23.   Horses’ hooves clip clopping.

24.   A big cozy chair, a drink, a great book, likely a kitty snuggled in my lap and time to read.
25.   Making out. Oh how I love to kiss and kiss and kiss.

kisss

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Just ask!

I’m always amazed at how often people won’t ask a question they want answered. Instead they will specuasklate, assume, dread and hope for an answer. But they never just ask.

When we want to know something, why don’t we just ask?

I’ve sat in mental misery spinning over a question endlessly: Does he like me? Is my boss upset? What did she mean by that? Will I be invited? Do we have any unfinished business? etc. etc. And I’ve seen plenty of other people – people old enough to know better – do the same thing.

When it finally dawned on me to just start asking, the relief was immense. It sounds so simple and obvious doesn’t it? But do you do it? Do you just ask?

Just asking does require a bit of bravery, some clarity, and self-awareness. Here are a few tips to get you started on your path to just asking:

  • Don’t expect answers or even civility in response to questions that are none of your business.
  • Sometimes answers will come in time. It’s okay to be patient and simply observe. Sometimes you already know the answer inside.
  • Don’t ask questions to which you’re not prepared to hear any answer.  If your heart is set on only one answer or outcome, then that’s not a question you should ask.
  • If you want something and you’re already at “no”, you have nothing to lose by asking. People cannot respond with yes to the unasked question. I’ve been given plants, food, drinks, jewelry, raises, better seating, upgrades, discounts and help just because I asked. So ask!

Can I ask you something? What keeps you from just asking?

So you think you’re so smart….

I love being exposed to new ideas. Sometimes they’re challenging or even scary to contemplate, but always, whole new worlds are revealed. I don’t want to miss out on that, so I’m alert for habits that can limit my ability to think well.  Smart

Clifford Nass, a professor of communication at Stanford University was quoted in the New York Times as saying “We tend to see people who say negative things as smarter than those who are positive. If I tell you that you are going to give a lecture before smarter people, you will say more negative things.”

Notice Professor Nass doesn’t say that negative people are actually smarter, just that we tend to think they are.

A well-thought-out argument and lively debate are excellent ways to sharpen your intellect and ability to think critically. But critical thinking doesn’t mean one has to be negative. I can certainly give a reasoned argument that’s positive.

Being constantly negative and critical, especially if it’s done simply to try and impress others (or yourself – yikes!) with your intelligence, is a surefire way to limit your ability to see what’s good and working. It’s also a mental habit that diminishes happiness. No smart person would do that to themselves.