There was a book on the table outside The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre’s store that winked at me. It was called, “14,000 Things To Be Happy About.”
I immediately picked it up and started leafing through it. The book was written by Barbara Ann Kipfer over a 40 year period, starting when she was in Grade 6. Some of the entries created wonderful images for me (the sound of an ice cream truck), some made me reminisce (the smell of freshly baked bread) and some I could not relate to (mugs of soup).
So I started to think about all the things that make me happy – the little things, the big things and everything in between. Within minutes, I exploded with 10 things that make me smile:
- St. Petes/Clearwater in Florida makes my belly-button happy. There’s something so whole and healing when I step into its warmth. My heart, my body and my spirit feel connected when I walk on the beach, feel the sand in my toes and marvel at the emerging sunset. These moments are as close to heaven as I can imagine.
- Saturday morning dates with Nagib. This is my all time favourite weekly activity and a sacred time for the both of us. It is time that we use to reconnect, talk, share, eat, make plans, share perspectives, argue, agree, discuss life. Each Saturday, we try out a new breakfast haunt courtesy of Yelp.
- I am the Queen of Gadgets, except I don’t always know what to do with the new toy after I buy it. My Instant Pot is an exception. Every day, I enthusiastically tackle it and try a new dish – sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t – but it gives me a sense of achievement when I can start cooking, and have something edible at the table in 30 minutes, without breaking a sweat.
- Good books and podcasts sustain me. In the past month, I have been transported into the world of princes and princesses, sword fights and giants. I have slipped into the mystery of Arabia, dived into questions around why the world has turned its back on migrants, explored the topics of perception and misconception and learnt the fascinating story of Instagram.
- Waking up each morning at 4 am to meditate. Just magical!
- Connecting with Shayne, Sabrina and Afzal on WhatsApp. Waking up to delicious messages and voicenotes from them almost every day. Being so connected with them and being part of their lives, in spite of being a continent away.
- Stephen Colbert makes me happy. He is my guilty pleasure and I am addicted to his late night show. I love how he confronts hypocrisy; how he helps to make sense of the craziness in the world and how he does all this with humour, sarcasm and an elegant grace. One of my bucket list items is to see him live in New York.
- Technology thrills me, even though I have a long way to go to become technologically savvy. My laptop, iPhone, wireless speakers, wireless phone charger and Fitbit are my favourite tools at the moment.
- Music takes me to new heights. Shayne bought me a one-year subscription to Spotify and now I have all this incredible music at my fingertips to love and explore. I listen to old favourites that move me; to the familiar sounds of Sade, the Beatles and Michael Buble; to the classical flamenco guitar sounds of Ottmar Liebert. As I become more adventurous, I am downloading music for sleep and working out.
- Spending time with my mom makes my heart happy. My mom is the centre of our universe and I revel in the time I have to learn from her, to cook with her, to be around her energy, to delve into her wisdom. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have time with her.
And as I finish this post, I can easily think of at least 10 more things that make me happy today. That’s because gratitude begets gratitude. And when we choose the path of gratitude, in spite of difficulties and challenges, the gratitude meter inevitably expands and there is even more to celebrate in life, starting with the blessing of being alive.