Chocolate and balloons and extravagant shopping trips. Dancing in the rain and finger paint and freshly baked bread. Fireworks! And orange. Orange is a very happy colour, don’t you agree? It’s hard to be depressed when surrounded by orange. Or yellow. In fact, many bright things are happy.
But I could be here all day if I just listed things that I associate with happiness. Besides, it might get a bit repetitive; I am a very simple six year old at heart, and my happy things tend to reflect that. If it’s not done in bold, primary colours, then I’m not so interested in it. Unless, of course, it’s sugar coated, but that’s a different matter entirely.
Simplicity is quite a key component of happiness, I believe. The world we live in is hugely complicated, and we who live in it have become complicated to adapt to it – or maybe it was the other way round, who knows. As students, our time is precious and in great demand, and as students, we have a propensity to waste it and waste our lives and we’ll end up drunk in a gutter because we failed our degree and isn’t the world a depressing place to be in. According to many an adult, anyway. Since I refuse on principle to be an adult until I’m at least a third year, I would disagree with them. Particularly on what counts as time wasting and what counts as building key networking and social skills. But I digress.
The point is that the world is a complicated place, and it is very easy for things to pile up and get tangled until it all seems like one big mess that can never be solved. Complexity often causes stress; stress and happiness are long and bitter enemies. Something about a glass of red wine and a wedding dress, if I recall correctly, but don’t quote me on that. There are articles and books enough on how to de-stress your life, and if you chose to take up yoga and meditation while standing on your nose and sleeping on a bed of nails, far be it from me to comment one way or the other. I’m just here to talk about happy things, like beds with snuggly blankets, ice cream and old Disney movies and far too many people squished together watching them.
I challenge you, in the name of all things orange and happy, to do at the very least one thing each day that is completely separate from all things stress-related. Do something insane on Monday, something new on Tuesday; do something messy on Wednesday and silly on Thursday; do something epically awesome on Friday and something downright weird on Saturday. And Sunday? Something nostalgic, perhaps. Something warm and fuzzy and sleepily content with the world.
Because as much as I am an advocate of the loud and colourful type of happiness, it is far from the only kind out there. Sometimes the best things are the understated things in life, things that we in our busy lives tend to run straight past and never think of. Things like writing a letter to someone – grandparents, maybe. Baking a cake, or bread, or biscuits. Drawing a picture, even if it is of the finger paint variety and drawn in bolognese sauce. Little things. Simple things.
I leave you with a final thought, taken from that ultimate paragon of wisdom known as xkcd: I’m happy to grow up. But I won’t pretend that fun things aren’t still fun out of fear of looking silly.