Sometimes it feels so good to slip into a small happy place that you’ve designed for yourself. You know what I mean, that unknown place in the future where you want to end up, or that point in the past that you desperately miss. The place that you think about when things aren’t going well.
For me that place is a little cabin in the woods with a wood stove and lots of bookshelves and herbs hanging from the walls. When I imagine a place like that, I feel like I could live forever, unchanging and content. Like I could churn out books with ease, and truly sink into the fabric of daily life. Like I could do all the things I dream about doing, if only I were in that place.
I have it all planned out. We’d have a big garden in the summer, with all sorts of fruits and vegetables. Chara would be healthy, and we could spend our days jogging down trails and rural roads together. We’d have the same easy partnership that me and my family’s dog had–that understanding of each other on a deeper level. On weekends Jordan and I’d load up the Subaru and backpack through the mountains and valleys of the East coast, or take a day trip to visit family and friends. We wouldn’t live in an apartment with terribly ugly red carpeting. In fact, we wouldn’t have neighbors at all.
It is a small dream, much more modest than a mansion, and more attainable than fame or wealth. But I think that it can be dangerous to dwell in dreams–even small ones like mine–instead of living in the reality of your current situation. Because what happens when you find yourself within that fantasy? You may also find that it is not exactly how you imagined. That sometimes it’s so freezing in the morning that you don’t want to get up early, or that the sky is gray. Or the sink piles high with dishes. Or even just that you get bored after all, and don’t really feel all that fulfilled. And then what do you do? You continue on dreaming, perpetually sighing “if only, if only,” and putting off your ultimate happiness and productivity.
I do believe that certain situations are more conducive to happiness than others, but I think a large portion of our happiness comes from a decision to be happy. From a decision to bury yourself in the small things, even when the sky is grey and the dishes are piled high.
So what are those moments in my current life?
Reading The Little White Horse aloud to Jordan while he cooks dinner. Watching the sunrise from our window while we eat breakfast. Jordan carrying me from the dinner table to our bed, because I’m so immersed in a book. The snowflakes on Chara’s black fur when we went out for our walk this morning, and the way she looked up at me as she trotted by my side. The “I love you” text from Jordan when he got to work. My snuggly William Smith sweatshirt and vest combo. The cozy feeling of curling up inside while it flurries outside. The sight of the pine trees heavy with snow. Drinking tea with the perfect milk-honey ratio. Actually enjoying reading Walden, and finding lines I can relate to (even though I think he is a jerk). Writing words I’m proud of.
What about you? Do you tend to live in fantasies or in the moment? Where is your happy place? And what are the happy things that happen now?