For my entire life – at least for as long as I can remember – when faced with the opportunity to make a wish, I have always wished for the same thing. Every time I blew out my birthday candles or threw a coin in a well or wished on a star, it was always the same. I wished for happiness. Naive perhaps, but then what’s a wish?
There was a point where I considered changing my wish. I decided that I wanted my parents to die together so that neither of them had to be without the other, but then I realised that in order for that to happen they would likely have to die a fairly horrible death, so I went back to my old faithful. Sometimes I thought I was smart. I thought that wishing for happiness meant that I effectively covered all of my bases. Other times I thought that keeping it simple meant that it was more likely to come true.
The other evening I was driving my kids home from somewhere and we saw the morning star. I told them to make a wish. My daughter wished that our pet budgie would learn to swing himself on his swing without help, because that would be fun for him. My son wished that when I die I take him with me, because he doesn’t want to be lonely. He is 4 years old. They asked me what I wished for and I told them. My son announced that I’m very lucky because my wish has already come true.
And he’s right.
It’s taken a while, but I am happy. I’ve realised that happiness is living in the now. It’s about the little things. Cracking a great bottle of wine and cooking something truly fantastic for dinner. Reading a good book instead of doing the vacuuming. Taking a day off work to lie in the sun. Sinking your nose into a kitten’s coat. If you think that sounds weird then you’ve obviously never sniffed a kitten. Kittens smell like happiness.
Happiness is taking stock of what you have and appreciating it. It doesn’t mean that everything is perfect, it’s just about focussing on the bits that are and not spending too much time stressing about the bits that aren’t. It’s about being pragmatic and present.
And smile. People fall in love with a smile.