Extraordinary, Ordinary Moments
The elusive pursuit of happiness is certainly a tough task. What is more reasonable and certainly easier to accomplish is capturing the small moments of happiness and joy in our daily lives. As I walk through each of my days, I stumble upon some moments that I have to recover from. But I try very hard to focus more intently on those lovely moments of brief joy and connection. I've been spending this past week sort of outside myself, as an observer looking in, and here is what warms my heart, bathes me in good feeling, and provides me with small moments of joy that make me want to linger in the moment and even more eager to get on to the next moment.
Sometimes my young adult daughter will call me and say "Hi, Mama." There is just something about being called mama that gets to me in the best possible way. The term is just so endearing. It is certainly different in tone from ma or even mother. Next, it might be something like going to the gym and having the trainers and their sweaty clients all seem happy to see me. I know this because they smile at me warmly and all know my name. Maybe they are just happy to get a two-second break from their grueling workouts, but I think not. I think that just as they are happy to see me I am happy to see them. It's just a fleeting moment of a lovely exchange, but it nonetheless feels so good.
Maybe then I'll go to the car wash and the man who always seems to linger over cleaning my car just a little bit longer than usual looks at me radiantly. Why does he do this? I am quite sure that it is because I always inquire about his kids and he beams with pride about what good students they are. This is a win-win situation. He is happy. I am happy to provide him with this moment.
Sometimes, I'll have a work-related appointment and I can just tell that the people that I am meeting with are so looking forward to our appointment. How do I know? I feel it. I see it in their eyes. They've laid out a little feast even though they know by now that I'll usually sip some water or have a little coffee, but the treats that they have put out speak volumes.
Or I'll get a call from a friend who will say "Barbara, please spend some time with me this week. I'm badly in need of some Barbara time." This makes me feel so good and so necessary. Somebody needs me and will benefit from my company.
And along the same lines, sometimes a relatively new friend or a dear older friend will be so delighted for me to meet their new love or even their spouse or partner. They want to show off their good fortune and inherent in this is that they want my acknowledgement of how lucky they are. I consider this both a compliment and an honor. And, sometimes, one of my fellow writer friends will want to run a piece by me. I just love that. Isn't it a high form of flattery that a colleague values your input?
And tomorrow I will start again with an early morning trip to Starbucks for my usual drink and even though it has no sweetener in it it tastes so good and sweet. I am convinced it is because the sweetness of the woman who usually makes my drink somehow transfers a little bit of her own sweetness into my drink. And, I just love that she always calls me sweetheart. It’s a good moment.
Barbara Greenberg and Jennifer Powell-Lunder are authors of the hit book, "Teenage as a Second Language: A Parent's Guide to Becoming Bilingual." They've set up an interactive website for parents and teens to listen, learn and discuss hot topics and daily dilemmas. You can find it at www.talkingteenage.com.