More and more I conclude that happiness is a decision rather than a circumstance. I’ve noticed that when I come home from work and answer the ‘how was your day’ question, I could either add up the little things and say it was awful, or add up some of the other little things and say it was brilliant. It depends on what I choose. Happiness is not a gooey, marshmallow-like cloud that descends upon you when all of your problems have receded to make room for it. It’s in a million tiny details. You have to gather them into one place to appreciate their impact. It’s like the hundreds-and-thousands you get on top of a Fab ice lolly – scattered separately you wouldn’t notice them much, but all crammed together they make a crunchy delicious multicoloured topping for people of all ages to enjoy. I may need to work on this analogy a little.
Included in my hundreds-and-thousands of happiness today were: pink silicone muffin cases I bought from the pound shop; a stupid joke Timothy made as he walked out of the door to his meeting; the scarf I wore to work; finding out by myself how to format something unusual in Excel; the orange leaves swirling round the car in the country lanes on the way home. Now I’m barricaded in our bedroom, the lamp on, the clothes put away, dipping into a stack of poetry books and being floored by Seamus Heaney. He is astonishing. Astonishing. Why have I never noticed before?
St Francis and the Birds
When Francis preached love to the birds
They listened, fluttered, throttled up
Into the blue like a flock of words
Released for fun from his holy lips.
Then wheeled back, whirred about his head,
Pirouetted on brothers’ capes.
Danced on the wing, for sheer joy played
And sang, like images took flight.
Which was the best poem Francis made,
His argument true, his tone light.
How was my day? Just wonderful.