Unbridled Amounts Of Glee
by Nicole Freire
Two things happened this week that got me thinking about happiness and variations of happiness.
The first was an utter surprise, probably the best one I've had in years. I listen to a fair amount of podcasts while I work, because I have my IPod and my Sony earphones with me at all times. And sometimes listening to AC/DC while I'm at my desk gets me pumped up enough to whip through a stack of paperwork.
Anyway, one of my favorite podcasts had not posted a new episode in months. I kept checking back every week or so and nada, nothing, no new shows. And because I am a big geeky fan, I sent the fine folks an email, asking, "When are you coming back?" I got a reply. "Where do you want us to come back to?" This got me all flustered and all I could come up with was, "Um, back to my ears? The podcast?"
Yep, that's me; I've got a real way with words sometimes.
On Thursday I plugged in, saw that a new episode was posted, and happily clicked in. And then I sat there with the biggest grin on my face. They mentioned that - yes - they had been gone for a while. And that they had gotten a message from a fan, and decided to dedicate the episode to Nicole.
That was me! They said my name! A couple of times!
I could not have been more excited. You would have thought, by the expression on my face that, perhaps I had just won the lottery. Or gotten a kitten. Or that President Obama had called me to ask how my week was going.
Is this silly? To be that excited about something as simple as little shout out from some comedians I admire? I suppose it was like listening to the radio on a Saturday night and hearing someone you love dedicate a song to you. (Do radio stations still do that? Take dedications? I think K-Earth 101 might.)
Then, on the way home, I saw a rainbow.
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that perhaps I've been getting into the cooking sherry or that my medication needs to be tweaked a bit.
But Sweet Baby Jesus, the rainbow was beautiful. You don't see them very often. If you have children, you know that they will always mention or point out a rainbow. Everyone should get excited by rainbows. I mean, come on! Bands of colored light across THE SKY? It's cool. It makes me feel like primitive cavemen must have felt when they saw one. Holy cow! There was the big ball of light and then the water from the sky and now I drop my spear to stare agog at the pretty lights.
During the rest of my drive home I thought about what else brings me that kind of childhood glee. Joy. Unreasonable happiness.
Now there are lots of things that make me happy, simple and complicated. I like hedgehogs. They're cute. I like sushi. I like being able to put on a pair of jeans that fit. I like to look at purses. I like to see pictures of people I love. I like to text with both my husband and my daughter. I like being able to brush my girls' hair without them crying. I like donuts. You get the idea.
But in the hierarchy of happiness, those things alone don't make me giddy. Happy? Yes. But semi-delirious? Those things are more rare.
So here, in no particular order, are some things that DO make me giddy - things that bring silly grins to my face, things that make me chuckle to myself. And these moments often seem to be private experiences of joy.
(I did come home though, and said, to nobody in particular, "Hey, I saw a rainbow today" and both my kids said, "You did? Cool!")
Clean Sheets On The Bed
If there is one chore my husband detests with every bone in his body, it's changing the sheets. He will literally whimper when I strip the bed. I'd change them much more often than we do, but I don't want to hear whining about it. BUT. When there are clean sheets on the bed? And especially if they're flannel? Then, oh my, when I slip under the duvet and smell the dryer sheet and the crispness of the fabric? That makes me squirm a bit with joy.
Going To The Movies With My Husband
When my husband and I were dating, we went to the movies all the time. We love watching movies. Before our eldest daughter was born, we upped our viewings, often seeing two a week because we knew that there would be few times when we would be able to go out.
(This is exactly what my mom says when I ask her about some older cultural references……….she will sigh and say, "Nicole, I missed the 1970's entirely! I was busy with you and your sister!")
Now, Netflix is all fine and good, we use it all the time. But sometimes you want to go and watch a movie that has just come out. Like, "2012". We both want to see that movie in the theater. Watching huge things blow up just isn't the same on our little television. In fact, we want to go so badly that I was actually trying to talk my 8-year-old into going to see it so that we could all go. I kept saying, "It's just things exploding, honey! It's not real! It's not going to be as scary as the last Harry Potter movie was!"
But to sit with my husband in a dark theater, waiting for the trailers to start, unwrapping the box of Red Vines? That gives me the goofy grin.
Toys I Had As A Kid
For years I was obsessed with getting my hands on a Fisher Price Tumble Tower. It was one of my absolutely favorite toys of all time. I could remember the way the plastic smelled, the sounds the marbles made as they trickled down, the heaviness of it as you turned it upside down.
And then came EBay. Glory of glories, I could finally get a bit of my childhood back. Now I have two Tumble Towers. About once a week I pick one up and play with it. And smile to myself.
A New Pair Of Flannel Pajamas
I have thing for pajamas. I try to wear them as often as possible. Probably not the sexiest of garments, but I love them nonetheless. I buy lots of pajamas. And when it gets cold? (My version of cold, by the way. Other people are never as cold as I am. I'm a lizard maybe.) I want flannel. I'm picky about my flannel. All flannels are not alike. LL Bean flannels are the best, and in my price range. I was sorely disappointed this year however. For some unknown reason, they're only carrying one, ONE, pair of flannel pajamas. And the print just happens to be a faux toile in blue. And the pattern? Hunting dogs. Yep, a pale blue toile of dogs -- I don't know, spaniels? Hounds? Even though I love flannel I draw the line at wearing hunting dogs to bed. Even I know that's not close to sexy.
But putting on a pair of flannel pajamas? That feels good. I want to hug myself in cozy delight.
You know, I've mentioned flannel twice in this article so far. Who knew a fabric could bring so much joy?
Readers, it's your turn now. Tell me what gives you joy? And not, "Oh, I like birthday cake" because everyone loves birthday cake.
What gives you the happy shivers? What makes you feel so good that you might not necessarily tell someone about? (You know, like loving rainbows.)
And while you're leaving comments on your personal joys, I'll be over here playing with my unicorns and putting on glitter nail polish.
# # # #
Nicole Freire is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara.