• Pamela Hatheway

Finding Happiness in the Simplest of Things

I think one of the most transformative exercises that I ever did was over a dozen years ago. It was my habit to get up an hour before the rest of my family, make a strong pot of tea, and write in my journal. It's a habit that I continue today. At the time, I wasn’t happy. I had a sense of sadness I couldn’t name; a spiritual discontent; a loneliness that can only be felt in a house full of people. My journal reflected my feelings, I wrote of disappointment in myself, unrealized dreams, general negativity.

I knew I needed to switch my focus to the blessings in my life, the things that I loved, things that made me happy. What we look at is what we see, and I needed to see light, not darkness.

I flipped my Moleskine to a fresh page, and titled my journaling exercise ,“What Makes Me Happy?” I began to number down the page, over 100 things, many of these things were on my list then, but this is my list today. These are in no particular order. What made this exercise so transformative was my realization that almost everything on my list was at my fingertips. None of it costed much money. I had china tea cups, I just needed to rid myself of the grocery store stoneware, I had crystal and silver, I just needed to take it out of hiding and use it daily. Taking time to walk trails and quit dying my hair, and buying clothes that I loved was a process that would take time, but I knew it was what I wanted.

I tell my students that we know what someone values and prioritizes by what they spend their time and money on. If waking up to a clean kitchen gives me pleasure, why would I go to bed with dishes in the sink?

  1. Drinking tea out of china tea cups

  2. Clean sheets pressed sheets

  3. Sleepovers with my grandbabies

  4. Baby giggles

  5. Long car rides with my daughters

  6. Holidays

  7. Being greeted at the door by my pets

  8. Pink cottages

  9. Freshly ironed embroidered pillowcases

  10. A clean kitchen

  11. Quiet mornings

  12. Cuddling on the sofa with my dog

  13. Early morning walks

  14. Antique stores

  15. Second hand stores

  16. Opening a fresh bag of coffee beans

  17. A clean refrigerator

  18. Opening a drawer and finding neat piles of underwear

  19. White cotton nightdresses

  20. Silver tea sets

  21. Homemade strawberry jam

  22. Freshly baked bread

  23. An afternoon with a good romance or cozy mystery novel

  24. A cup of hot chocolate around a bonfire

  25. A kayak ride in a quiet lake

  26. Floral prints

  27. White fluffy towels

  28. Heavy crystal dishes

  29. Doilies

  30. Big family dinners

  31. Baileys in my coffee

  32. Evening visits with my mum and dad

  33. Knitting parties with my girlfriends

  34. Cuddling

  35. Manicures/pedicures

  36. Old vintage linens

  37. Handmade quilts

  38. Old wool blankets

  39. Picking berries

  40. 80’s rock

  41. Scones and butter

  42. Seafood bought right off the boat

  43. Fresh pressed apple cider

  44. The farmer’s market

  45. Antique auctions

  46. Afternoon at a local coffee shop

  47. A new journal

  48. Leather filofax

  49. Coloured markers, stickers, washi tape

  50. White enamel buckets and pans

  51. Crocheted tablecloths and bed covers

  52. Salted caramel vodka

  53. Fire in the fireplace

  54. Joni Mitchell

  55. Carley Simon

  56. Wool sweaters

  57. Linen pants

  58. Long gray hair

  59. English country gardens

  60. Herb gardens

  61. Watching the sunset on Grand Manan

  62. Walking trails, preferable in wooded areas

  63. Bed and Breakfasts

  64. Day trips

  65. Boat rides

  66. Snow storms

  67. Meteor showers

  68. Overnight company ( I love to have my girlfriends come for too much wine and a sleepover)

  69. Bubble baths

  70. Lavender linen spray

  71. Mismatched china plates

  72. A hard crisp apple

  73. Chips and dip, appetizer plates

  74. A new scented candle

  75. Sharing meals and activities with my daughters

  76. Having great conversations with my classes

  77. Chunky silver jewelry

  78. New stationary

  79. Yarn stores

  80. Boho style clothes

  81. Writing days

  82. The Gilmore Girls

  83. Hallmark Christmas movies

  84. Picnics

  85. Feather pillows

  86. Climbing rose bushes

  87. Old houses

  88. Forest paths

  89. Waterfalls

  90. A freshly made bed

  91. Lace edged shelves and cupboards

  92. Coming home from a trip

  93. Christmas and all the chaos that goes with it

  94. Yard sales/ auctions

  95. Hand-made wooden kitchen tools

  96. Glass refrigerator-ware (crystal boxes that used to come in refrigerators for storage)

  97. Old cake tins

  98. Canning jars

  99. Swimming in lakes

  100. Early morning journaling

If you are reading this, I’d love to see your list. What makes you happy? What are you going to do about it?

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