I was headed home from work last Wednesday when I noticed that the floor in the hallway upstairs leading to the front door was strewn with (fake) rose petals. It had been a pretty grey day, humid and dense, with brisk winds and wet streets. The kind of day that made me wish I was at home with a bowl of ramen noodles and a documentary on Netflix. But responsibilities were a-calling, so I was not on my couch with a comforter draped around me and binging on Netflix shows. Wednesdays are pretty much 12+ hour days for me, factoring in an hour or so for travel time, so I’m always pretty tired by the time I head home.
Despite the fatigue, however, I was cheered up when I saw those flower petals. I have spent a lot – and I do mean a lot – of my time wondering about the essentiality of happiness, and trying to find a way of life that would allow me to balance my happiness and ambition. Right now, since I’m working towards a degree and would often be swamped with school work during semesters, I have found that finding happiness in the little things is what keeps me afloat, healthy, and sane. It’s wonderful how finding a hall full of petals managed to dissipate the cloud of weariness around me, and kept the little troll of worry guarding the bridge in my head happy enough that he was quiet for once.
The troll of worry is awake most nights, spinning for me thoughts of danger and failure for which I then try to make contingency plans, and inevitably, back-up plans for those contingency plans. The little troll is what makes me such a calculated student, to the point where I schedule every little thing on my calendar in order to figure out how long I need to work on a paper. It has gotten so ingrained in me, it has even seeped into my video game life – I am a very cautious gamer, pausing every few seconds and walking to a standstill before jumping. The troll whispers little thoughts into my head: Dani, what if it all crumbles? What if it’s all for naught?
And yet, as much as I hate his presence, I am also immensely grateful for him. He has saved me from a lot of trouble by making me endlessly prepared. My boyfriend says that I worry too much, and that I am too hard on myself. Maybe so, but the toll that this attitude is exacting on me is worth it. Only when I have everything ready and scheduled do I even feel safe enough to commence working.
That being said though, it is wonderful to have the troll be quiet for once. Self-doubt has no place in my carefully structured and scheduled life. Besides, who can stay sad and grey even during the rain, when right outside my workplace is this fabulous little spot? I’ve seen people take photos in front of it on more than a couple of instances.
I guess what I’m really saying is, happiness is in the little, every day things. It’s in that warm cup of tea when you’re on your couch, safe at home after trekking through the rain. It’s in the warmth and safety of embraces from those you trust and love, and even from strangers, in strange and wonderful circumstances. It may be in that DVD copy of the Two Towers that you’ve had for four years that now skips Helm’s Deep because you’ve seen it so much. In a lifetime of rushing from A to B, where mail and coffee are instant, and where the car you’re driving seems to have no brakes, it’s the little bites of happiness that allow me to keep my sanity intact while navigating this world. It’s not easy, but it will be worth it. In the meantime, let’s have a Caramel Corretto latte from Second Cup while we make plans for the future and look at a grey sky. I hear that coffee + friends is a most winning combination.
Where I was and what was playing: Being a couch potato at home, and Uncle Cracker’s Smile