You’ve probably heard it before – “It’s the little things that make us happy – the little things that really matter.” Rodgers and Hammerstein liked, “‘raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens.” Oprah didn’t seem to have any favorite things last year, but in 2008, she liked gratitude boxes, swap parties and hot chocolate cones. There are millions of favorite things lists, blogs, websites, stores and surveys. If you’re having trouble thinking of your own favorite things, Google “favorite things” and you’ll get 242,000,000 ideas in .14 seconds. Your favorite things might be quite different from Oprah’s, Google’s, Rodgers’ or Hammerstein’s, but I bet your favorite things – the things that make you happiest – aren’t “things” at all. If you’re perpetually searching for happiness, start with the littlest thing – make a simple “favorite things” list of your own.
These are some of my favorite things – what’re yours?
Seeing my daughter smile (the real one – not the “would you stop with the camera” smile) and hearing her laugh because it always makes me laugh even when I have no idea what’s so funny.
Seventy pounds of yellow lab grand-puppy sleeping in my lap. (It’s almost the only time I see her being good).
When three year olds ask me to color with them.
A rainy day, a bag of popcorn, and nothing to do but watch a good movie.
Babies – holding them when they’re happy and giving them back to their moms when they’re not.
Making someone laugh and laughing at myself.
Clean white sheets dried on the clothesline.
Email from people I know that doesn’t have “FW” in the subject line and real mail that isn’t a bill.
Watching my brother’s kids get along (probably because he and I never did).
Opening a new bar of soap.
Cold pizza for breakfast.
Hot chocolate, warm coffee and cold margaritas on hot days.
Bonfires, electric blankets, wool socks, and too big sweatshirts.
Finding money I forgot I had (and I wish it happened more often).
When my jeans start to feel too loose.
The smell of my own pillow.
When strangers smile at me for no reason (as long as they’re not too strange).
Looking through old photo albums with my grandmother (who remembers everything).
Old songs and new books.
Really listening, without needing to figure out what I’m going to say.
Dinner guests (and, no, not just because I won’t have to eat leftovers).
Organizing anything (closets, cupboards, other people’s medicine chests, parties, desk drawers, refrigerators, glove compartments, store counters, library shelves, people).
Long walks in new places.
Falling asleep on the couch every Sunday during the race (it’s the one time I never feel guilty about it).
Restful nights and good hair days.
People who listen.
Christmas cactus that bloom in October.
Honey crisp apples.
Riding (boats, bikes, planes, trains, cars).
Taking pictures and then playing with them until they turn into something completely different and mostly unexpected.
Inventing life stories for people I don’t know.
Getting a compliment (even if I don’t believe it).
Christmas trees and lights that aren’t tangled.
The smell of baking bread, or cookies, or turkey, or anything that I’m not in charge of cooking.
Summer thunderstorms & winter blizzards when I don’t have to go anywhere.
Falling asleep in the sun while floating in the pool.
A book you can’t put down.
Finding clothes I love that come in every color (so I won’t have to shop as often).
Playing dominoes (even when I lose).
Finishing something I started (especially if I thought it would never get done).
Catching the biggest bullhead (but only if I don’t have to take it off the hook. That’s a catfish for some of you.)
Friends who let you bitch and friends who tell you the truth (even if you don’t want to hear it)
Three day weekends.
Peppermint ice cream.