By Cheryl Hansen
I took a hot class at Yoga Pod today. “Today, your yoga mat is your sanctuary,” my instructor said. The thought of it made me smile. But it’s what she said at the end of class that made me think: “May we all be happy and free.”
Seriously. May we? I chatted with a neighbor yesterday who, near tears, said she was having a hard time. One friend is dealing with serious depression while another’s husband struggles with inexplicable anger. Nearly everyone I know is either currently taking or has taken medication to deal with anxiety and depression. I’ve seen a host of storefronts and articles touting the power of CBD oil. And self-help books are still showing up on an alarming number of book shelves (mine included).
So I figured I’d take a moment to really think about this. Do frosted cookies REALLY change anything? And Shark Week? Meh. So what does make me happy?
- My son’s authentic, uncontrollable, hard-to-breathe belly laugh.
- The first bite of a Shirley roll, right out of the oven with butter dripping down the sides. My mom Shirley famous for her rolls and required to bake them at every family event (and in between events). One bite and I’m back home in her kitchen—dozens of glistening tan rolls cooling on brown paper bags and my friends knocking on our door asking, “Are they ready yet?”
- When my 6-year-old busts out with a fancy vocabulary word like stupendous (initially pronounced “pustendous”) or literally (emphasis on the “t”).
- Getting to that part of a book when the unexpected happens—when I find myself excitedly oversharing plot details with my husband who (kindly) nods at the right times until I sigh and return to reading.
- Watching my somewhat-screen addicted kids marvel at the stack of smooth river rocks (built stone-by-stone over days or weeks by campers just like us). They called him “Rock Man” and insisted we say goodbye before we left.
- Riding bikes along the trails of Fort Collins, particularly the ones that lead to Dairy Queen. The simplicity of those afternoons with a bicycle and an ice-cream cone guarantees that my kids will remember it forever. I will, anyway.
- Paddle boarding. (I need to get out there more often.)
- A fire in the fireplace on a chilly day.
- Successes (big or little). Whether it’s hitting “send” on that assignment that’s been nagging me, holding the dancer’s pose for the entire designated time, fixing the broken shower thingie (after three tries) or even making the bed, that feeling of satisfaction is … well, satisfying.
- Taking a walk on a pretty Colorado day.
While hopefully not an exhaustive list, the items above are pretty revealing to me. On tough days, I’ve been known to seek solace in sugar, Amazon.com, Deepak, Facebook, diet coke and HGTV. But even Joanna Gaines didn’t make my happy list, nor did the fabulous vacation my 7th grade classmate and her family just posted. Happiness may not be so hard to find, if only you look in the right places.