Happiness is a fickle thing, isn’t it?
Last week there was this moment, I was standing in my kitchen cupping a very fragrant mug of Earl Grey in my hands. I could feel a cool breeze coming through my dining room window and in that same breeze, I could see the bedsheets on the clothesline out back billow up full of air and flick back into place before repeating. I do remember things like the mellow drone of the washing machine, and the occasional squawk from a bird flying low over the house, but what I really remember was that it felt like everything was still, that it was peaceful and that it was almost silent. I also remember that in that moment, I was very happy.
Unfortunately, the above is far from a formula. Sometimes I find myself standing in my kitchen cupping a hot mug of Earl Grey in my hands, listening to the roar of the washing machine, feeling overwhelmed by the washing that is STILL on the line after who knows how many days, developing those horrible little fade lines(!) and wondering how on earth I’m going to get through the impossibly long list of things on my to-do list in the ever shortening nap times my son takes. In these moments, I don’t feel very happy.
As a mum of two young children, I find that life is this massive contrast of BIG feelings. BIG frustrations when little ones don’t nap, BIG joy when they say “I love you” for the first time. BIG exhaustion when you are functioning on 2 hours sleep, when you just can’t get to that phone call you really need to make, when the kids are screaming over the wrong coloured socks! And then out of the blue my daughter will run in with flowers from the garden for me and stroke my hair and tell me I’m the most beautiful person ever. It’s a rollercoaster!
I’m still amazed how this house can go between resembling a war zone, to clean and orderly and peaceful and then back to chaos again in what feels like seconds! Sometimes it’s not relief I feel at night when the kids are finally asleep in bed but shell-shock! It can be hard to find moments that fill me with that quiet joy I so crave and even harder to hold on to them.
About a month ago I started taking photos of my dining room table. When the gorgeous Klara asked me to write a guest blog here on Her Happy Heart, it didn’t occur to me that these photos I had been sitting on would finally become useful to me OR that I would realize why I was taking them in the first place. I think I was taking them because I was capturing happiness.
Around this old jarrah hand-me-down I have been forming some of the most significant happy moments of my life so far. It’s where I sit and have a pot of coffee with my husband before he leaves for work. It’s where I eat meals with friends, create art projects with my daughter, even most of my formal meetings have been moved to meet around this table. It is where I put flowers to bring a little sunshine in my day. It is where I take much needed tea-breaks. It is where I sit down and connect with my God. It is where we pray together. It is where most of the investment into the official ‘Bank of Joy’ is deposited into my heart. And how important is it to keep that bank account healthy?!
In a world where happiness is a number one priority, I’m glad I haven’t formed my life around chasing happiness, to be honest, it sounds like hard work. I am also very glad that somewhere along the way, somehow, I have learnt to enjoy these moments of happiness when they pass on through. I’ve learnt to take note of them, to savour them, even to photograph them and to revisit them when I forget how good I’ve got things. While I hope it never becomes my reason for living, I do plan to continue intentionally investing into that account and stopping to enjoy as many of those moments as I do.
Nicky D says
Hey, great article Ashleigh Elizabeth. Made me feel extra happy! Keep up the good work.
Fabulous post, Tahlia
What a great image Klara. I love the idea that the light can be something grand like a chandelier or small like a match. Beautifully written xx
Just reading this made me smile Ash. I am a write things down person too, love it.
So great Ash, aw bless
Karen V says
We were married young- 21and 20 and it will be 32 years for us soon. No regrets, and hope that you and Sam find the same.
Lynn White says
As someone who married at 21, to my current and only husband (also at 21) I agree with and confirm so much of what you’ve said – by the way we celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary earlier this year.
Paul / Granddad says
Well done Ashleigh! Nanny and I married relatively young and have been happily married for 53 years. It has been a wonderful adventure together! xx