A few days ago, I experienced a miracle.
I had a dentist appointment after school (that’s not the miracle) which took me through a heavy traffic area laden with about a million traffic lights: The infamous Highway 66, Winfield Dunn Parkway. It’s been under construction practically since Tennessee became a state and must be the area’s primary orange barrel repository. It’s notorious for its stand-still traffic; it’s in a perpetual state of orange or red on Waze.
It’s six lanes of driving torture, but an awesome dentist is out there, so that’s where I found myself at the end of a very long day. Teeth bright, but mood less so, I prepared to fight my way home. It didn’t happen. Leaving the dentist’s office requires pulling all the way across three lanes and into the turn lane for a U-turn. As I approached the normally traffic-laden road, I saw no cars. Not questioning my luck, I pulled out and into the turn lane just in time to see that the traffic light had caught approaching traffic leaving me free to head on along my way home.
I made every light on my way home. I’m sure you didn’t get that. Every. Single. Light. Was. GREEN. I did not have to stop even one time all the way home. This has never happened before. Ever. I believe I passed through 15 lights, again all green. And, no, I did not squeak through on the yellow. I didn’t speed. I just gently glided home. At rush hour. Without stopping.
I was so happy when I got home, I couldn’t wait to tell my husband about my glorious drive. As I told him, I realized that I really was exceptionally happy. All because I had a great drive home. As the icing on the cake, Carl had brought home some cupcakes. Could this day get any better?
As my euphoric mood continued throughout the evening, I realized that I sometimes have the mindset that I’ll be happy as soon as this big thing happens, or when I settle that. But that’s not the key to happiness. Happiness is being able to enjoy the small things. Happiness is walking outside with Carl at night a seeing a full halo around the moon. It’s magical. It’s seeing a droplet of water sitting on my elephant ears after the rain. Happiness is looking up at Carl at just the moment he looks at me. Happiness is remembering a beautiful song. It’s is sending my daughter a surprise gift on the exact same day she sends me one. Happiness is a once starving, now contented, kitten napping on my back.
I don’t need to win the Lottery to be happy. Now, I want to clear here: I’m not turning down any prize money someone may want to send my way. I’ve read that Lottery winners tend to end up unhappy, but I’m positive that I could be an exception. In fact, I dare all those psychologists with their Happiness Ceiling Theories to throw wads of money at me. Really. Throw some money at me.
Just because I appreciate small things doesn’t mean I couldn’t enjoy looking at the moon over the Eiffel Tower or appreciate how light glistens off the snow in the Alps or stand amazed by the tulip fields in Holland.
But I’m not going to wait around for those things. I’m going to be happy right now.
“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” –Kurt Vonnegut