I’m currently sat in my mother-in-law’s front room, about to enjoy an egg and bacon sandwich. She makes the best egg and bacon sandwiches. Two slices of soft buttered bread, crisp and crunchy bacon, and a fried egg to top it off – sunny side up. You see, sometimes it isn’t the most extravagant stuff that makes us happy. Sometimes, it’s the small stuff throughout our day that adds up over time.
The joy of egg and bacon
I try to come round for an egg and bacon sandwich at least once a week. It’s the best start to my day. But not just because it’s delicious. When I’m eating my egg and bacon sandwich, I’m surrounded by my boyfriend, his daughter, the family dog and cat, and of course, my mother-in-law.
It’s crazy in this household. I came from a quiet family who kept to themselves. My boyfriend’s family is the complete opposite. It’s an assault on the senses, with the radio often playing, the kid often talking, children’s TV playing, the dog rolling over for a belly-rub, and the cat trying to headbutt you off the sofa. I love it.
A work wrap isn’t that tasty
I’m guilty of getting so wrapped up in my work sometimes that I fail to stop and look at my surroundings. Especially because my work is all device-based, I end up staring at a screen for hours on end. Recently I noticed that my whole world seemed to revolve around work, to the detriment of those around me. I used to resent the noise around my boyfriend’s family, so I went out of my way to avoid it. But that didn’t work so well, and the relationships that I spent the last few years trying to build, they started to unravel.
And for what?
I used to think I’d work so much to grow my business, and that would mean I’d get more money and be a success. Who cared that at that point, my personal life and relationships would suffer?
Then, one morning, I woke up and realised that I wasn’t happy. I was working stupid hours, on projects I was only really doing for the money. I was at my wit’s end trying to figure out what had gone wrong in my relationship. I thought my business was making everyone’s lives better. It wasn’t.
The best stuff doesn’t have a price tag
So, I took a step back and started to re-assess. I realised that the stuff that made me happy wasn’t always bought, and that it didn’t really have a value attached to it.
Like finding a council-run fashion workshop for the kid. It was completely free, run by volunteers, and seeing her face light up as she entered the room where they were going to design their own t-shirts and then model them for each other…well, that was priceless.
Or the dog’s favourite walk down by a small river that runs through the city. She likes to chase the ducks. My boyfriend and I like to hold hands and spot the carp swimming past.
Or dancing in the kitchen to some old nineties boybands. We have dance-offs as dinner is cooking, until it’s ready or my mother-in-law kicks us out of there to make a tea.
Is today unlucky for some?
It’s Friday the 13th today. The kid says that it’s unlucky. Her dad said that it’s lucky. I guess it’s just how you look at it, right?
Happiness is all about perspective when you really think about it. It’s about noticing the little stuff that makes you lucky, throughout the day. But it’s also about rolling with the punches and not letting the bad stuff drag you down.
There’s bad stuff happening all the time. Yes, there’s a time to take yourself away to a quiet space and to be sad about it. I’m not saying you should suppress those feelings. But it’s all about balance. Seeing and talking about the bad things is important, and so is recognising and talking about the good.
Today is going to be a good day. It’s the last official day of the Easter holidays (bar the weekend). Little beknownst to the kid, we’ve got a special day planned for her.
We’ll be taking her to see a film she’s wanted to watch for weeks, and after, we’re off to a cat cafe, and then onto dinner at a new restaurant that serves her favourite food. Oh, and I’m taking the day off. Because when she looks back on today, this week, this holiday, I want her to remember the time we all spent together, as a family – that’s true happiness, right there.