Happy List #3

Okay people. I’m bringing back the happy list.

I started doing these a while ago and they just kind of tapered off, but I think it’s time to bring it back. One- because it will force me to write more. And two- because we should always find a reason to celebrate the things that make us happy. So here is my list for this week!

1.FALL!!!!! I feel like I was just celebrating the start of summer. But all of a sudden, fall is upon us. I know I mentioned that summer is my jam. I could also say the same about Fall (although I’m pretty sure the start of any new season is the best, really). It’s been a really hot summer here in Atlanta, and in fact, the first technical days of Fall were equally as hot. But a couple of days ago, the switch flipped and now it finally feels like fall.  The crisp, cool air, the clear blue skies, the leaves starting to fall ever so slightly…I just want to eat it up! Throw in football, pumpkin everything, mums, Fall Festivals, apples, sweaters, leggings with cute boots and I’m smitten. The other day I made my Target run, and instead of just walking out with the birthday gift and milk that I intended to get (of course), I walked out with a Halloween sign, the cutest fabric pumpkin, a glittery bat garland, a cinnamon scented candle, and a fabulous gold pumpkin pillow.  That pillow almost made the Happy List by itself I love it so much. I know we (and I’m talking to you, ladies) make fun of ourselves for going into Target and getting side tracked, but that seasonal decor is really just too much fun to ignore. So in another month when I’m tirelessly sweeping leaves off my porch and whining about how annoying it is to get my kids to put on coats and socks, I will try to remember all the reasons why I love Fall. Target seasonal section, you will always be one of those reasons. 

2. Child’s Pose. I started doing yoga a few years ago. When people learned about my anxiety, they were all, “why don’t you try yoga?”   and all I could think was how anxiety-provoking it would be to try to do all those fancy hard-to-pronounce moves in front of a room full of strangers. But somehow, I found BeYoga on the Marietta Square and I was in love. And, they offered a workshop for beginners!!! That really helped with the first-time jitters. Turns out, I love yoga. The stretching, the breathing, the mindfulness. Great for your body and mind. Score. But child’s pose, man, that is the best. You sit on your knees, slightly spread apart, bring your head to the floor and stretch your arms out long on the ground, and breathe.  If you’ve never tried it before, I’m begging you, just do it…and get ready to say ahhhhhh. 

3.La Croix. I always wondered how anyone could drink barely flavored sparkling water. I didn’t see the point. I don’t know if there’s some magic age where sparking water suddenly becomes glorious but I guess I must be close because by-golly, all of a sudden I’m an addict. I am constantly hitting up the Costco for 24 cans of bubbly goodness. So cold, so refreshing, so barely-flavored. Which, apparently, is now my thing. If only I could figure out how to pronounce it. French class, you have failed me.

4.The Beach. The beach could be an entire Happy List by itself.  We recently made the trip down to Ft. Walton Beach, FL (the trip where I drove us home by myself!!!) a couple of weeks ago, and it was the best time. The weather was unbelievable, and the kids are at this magical age where they finally posses a decent amount of independence while still managing to be innocent and cute. We all enjoyed each other’s company.  One notable perk of the magical age is staying up later without totally falling apart the next day, so we enjoyed more than one sunset on the beach and our fair share of night swimming (which always feels like a huge adventure for the kids).  All of this while Jason and I could sit back with a cocktail and reminisce about surviving the good old days of swim diapers, beach tents and pack-n-plays.  I think I finally made a family vacation believer out of him. 

5.Football. If you are born and raised in the South, you have probably seen a football game or two.  Game Days are considered to have their own culture in some aspect. Being a Georgia native, I am a UGA Bulldog and an Atlanta Falcons fan (two teams that have broken many hearts during my lifetime), and I love everything about football Saturdays and Sundays (or sometimes, Thursdays and Mondays).  Planning your team color coordinated outfit, meeting up with friends and family, tailgate food, marching bands, and finally, the roller coaster ride that is the actual game. Every game is like watching a movie, the drama unfolds before you, in real-time; sometimes your heart explodes with excitement and other times you are left jaw-dropped with shock and disbelief. This past Saturday was no exception as the Bulldogs lost in the final seconds to the Tennessee Vols.  There were just no words.  But that’s the name of the game. You cannot predict every outcome. Win or lose, I still love this game.

6.Campfires. Okay, so maybe we weren’t exactly camping, but we did set up a nice little cheapie fire pit in the backyard. With the fall temperatures finally cooling off, we were able to have our first fire the other night.  We carefully searched for the best sticks and roasted marshmallows. We threw leaves and pine straw into the fire and marveled at how fast they shriveled up. We practiced outrunning the smoke as it shifted with the breeze. My son became a little too obsessed with lighting things on fire, so eventually we had to call it quits. Also, I made the mistake of buying the bag of jumbo marshmallows, which resulted in my children resembling some sort of human fly paper.  Despite the stickiness, I’m predicting many more backyard pow-wows in the future. 

7.Starbucks. Okay, okay, I know there are a million cute mom and pop coffee shops that I could mention that make me happy, but there is just such a comfort in the reliability of a Starbucks. If there’s ever an hour or so to spare in my day, I know at least 3 Starbucks nearby that will be waiting with my Chai Tea Latte, free wifi, and a tiny little spot for me to just sit and be. I went this morning to do some work (making the class directory for Allie’s preschool class is serious work, people!!!) and again I was amazed and how dang happy it made me just to sit in a Starbucks with all the mature, well-dressed business folk (and a few other stragglers donning t-shirts and yoga pants, like myself) and just chill. There’s nothing like pounding away freely on my laptop while the echoes of verbal chatter and the hiss of steaming milk fill the air. I saw a sign today that they’re going to start serving beer and wine in the evenings?!! Really? As if I don’t loiter in there enough, now I am going to be enticed to stay straight on through until night-time now that I can enjoy a glass of Pinot and a cake pop simultaneously. Might as well just keep an overnight bag behind the counter.

8.Apple Slices and Caramel Dip. Makes me happy. The end.

9.The Sunrise. With the days becoming shorter, we are waking up before the sun. Which means we are catching quite a few sunrises these days. I know I mentioned the sunset as being up there with my top favorite things of all time, but a sunrise is just as magnificent, if not more so.  There’s such beauty in the beginning of something, and it’s hard to compete with the wonderment of a new morning. Plus, I have witnessed significantly less sunrises (or at least purposely sat and watched one) than sunsets, so the rarity alone adds to the awe of the event. Some of my most memorable sunrises… on the beach in Cancun, Mexico, during spring break in college (oops, we never went to bed!), early mornings when I lived in Breckenridge, Colorado (you couldn’t actually see the sun, but the way it lit up the rocky mountain peaks across the valley, in a blazing splendor of orange light, was one of my fondest memories), and sitting on the rocky cliffs overlooking the Pacific during our honeymoon in Kauai, HI (thanks to the time difference we were up extra early to enjoy a few of those).  I look forward to many more of these quiet, magnificent moments that come with each new day. 

10.People.  I realize that this can be a subjective topic.  Do I really like all people? I can’t say that I do. Especially if you ask me while in the Costco parking lot at lunchtime, in Atlanta rush hour or on Black Friday.  But for the most part, I believe that all people are generally good and have goodness somewhere in their hearts.  Yes, there is evil in the world. But let’s not focus on that now.  This is a Happy List, by all means. What fascinates me about people, is that what you see is usually not ever what you get. Heck, I am a testimony to that fact.  I am always curious about the story that everyone carries with them. So much so, that sometimes I feel compelled to ask complete strangers about their life story (from which I always refrain, for fear of looking like a complete lunatic).  The people who intrigue me the most are the ones who seems to be suffering, the ones with frowns on their faces, who are lashing out at the world.  What are their stories? Where is their source of pain? Okay, so maybe the guy honking at me in the Costco parking lot isn’t on my list of favorite people, but there’s still a tiny sliver of compassion for him buried beneath my irritation. For just like you and I, he has a unique perspective. There’s a story beneath it all. No one person in this world is the same, and that is a beautiful, amazing thing. People are the glue that hold our world together, and we have a responsibility to each other not only to respect our differences but to celebrate them. We as humans have a unique and powerful ability to influence our world, and if we can leave a legacy of any kind, I pray that it is one of peace and unity. People make me happy only when they are doing their best to be good-hearted people. Good, not to be confused with perfect, but good, decent, loving people.  Even those who seem distraught or coarse can be hiding a pure, but broken heart under a tangled mess of sadness and despair. So before you discount the weary, the broken and disheartened, get to know them as people. Listen to their story. Little by little, you will start to see the happy in their hearts. And I guarantee, by taking to time to listen, you will feel the happy in your own heart growing too.