- Mental Health»
The little things that make us smile
Appreciating the little things
Did you ever need to collect your thoughts and do some real soul searching to see what it is that makes you happy? We all would benefit if we evaluated our lives from time to time and stayed true to who we are and we comprised a list of the things that bring a smile to our face and a feeling of joy that we try to hold on to each and every day. If we were to make this a priority and we did it with sincerity and for our own personal fulfillment we would find our lives more satisfying. We all have a list of things that make us happy but it is not formal and for most of us it is in our mind where it is recorded in our subconscious.
I believe that if we asked one another to comprise such a list we would see a lot of similarity and we would also see simplicity. Simplicity is good because we don't always need extravagant things to make us happy. Surely materialistic things do find a way in bringing us comfort and happiness but eventually we will find that it is short lived and we then have to buy that next big thing to bring us joy once again. We realize that the simple things are more meaningful and long lasting because they are intangible, they are priceless and they keep us balanced and focused.
From time to time I have worked on my list but it is not written down anywhere. It is in my mind so I feel this is a good exercise because this will allow me the opportunity to share this in written format for me to refer back to at any time and also to share it with my family and those who are a special part of my life. I don't know how you feel about it but for me, I find writing is a challenge and an awakening that helps me reflect and bring out a part of myself that I very rarely share with others. I find when I write I can express things that I can not do in conversation and I feel more comfortable and am able to bring it out and express it in words that seem to come as I sit at the keyboard staring into the computer screen. I did not envision myself opening up this way but since I have lived with shyness my whole life and dealt with family tragedy I find this really is a great way to draw strength and find healing.
So if you were to really think long and hard about all the things that make you happy how would you start your list and how would you decide the order of things? I believe free association is probably the best way to begin and writing down all the things that come to mind will allow you to formulate a list that comes to life and develops a picture of you and your most inner thoughts that express your internal happiness. We all need to tap into this part of ourselves given all the stresses and sadness we feel and encounter in our busy and ever changing lives. I also feel that the more we reflect and understand ourselves and who we are the more our relationships with others will vastly improve and we will find that we are more able to live healthier and happier lives.
For me I would have to say that being able to recall something is one thing I would never want to lose. Memory is so important and it allows us to remember all those special people in our lives, especially our parents. It brings us back in time to a happier place and it allows us to smile and appreciate our life. I have always enjoyed remembering parts of my childhood and the bonds shared with my parents who really taught me a lot and helped me to become a kind and caring individual who finds joy in simple things and does not get caught up in material things. Sure it is nice to have fancy things but when you really break it down you realize we came into the world with nothing and we leave the world with nothing. When I say nothing, I mean material things. I don't actually mean nothing because we do come into the world with something and that something is very special because it is most important in our development and it is the love and nurturing our parents provide us which helps us each and every day. We all need to feel loved and the love of parent and child is the most special gift we could ever have.
I also know that when I see my life flash before my eyes I will want to envision all my family and friends who touched my life and helped me to appreciate being alive. I want to hold on to them in my mind as I slip away from what I have become accustomed to in life now having to accept the reality of moving on to the other side when it is my time which hopefully will be peaceful and free of pain. I have often wondered if our loved ones who have departed are able to see into our lives and help guide us in some way and share our joys and our accomplishments and feel our frustrations and our pain. I have always believed that we are not alone in our lives and are protected by the love of our loved ones who have left us. I will never forget the story my father shared with me of his near death experience at a construction site where he was inches away from being crushed accidentally by the crane operator lowering the boom not realizing his position. In that instant of time when he saw his life flash before his eyes he felt at peace and felt the gentle touch of a hand slowly pushing him away as he heard a soothing and gentle voice exclaim "It's not your time yet!" and then he awoke in a hospital room where his life was saved by the doctors. He had crushed ribs and a broken back but he survived the ordeal and realized the peaceful presence of God which made him grateful and happy as this gave him hope and joy in his life and the courage to go on as he had a young family depending on him.
A memory of my early childhood was when my mother walked me to school on my very first day and left me at the door where I did not want her to go. As she kissed me goodbye she reassured me she would be back to pick me up but I was crying and pleading for her not to go. I still remember this day as if it was yesterday. She did pick me up and I did manage yet I still think back to that moment when I realized that separation from our loved ones is inevitable.
Two very special days in my life I will never forget was our wedding day and the day my wife gave birth. I was on cloud nine. She experienced the pain and the joy and I was there for the ride and what a wonderful ride it was. It all started when I heard the words spoken to me from my wife nine months earlier as she said it with eagerness and joy "I'm pregnant!" I was over joyed myself and now realized how special it was knowing a baby was on the way. If I could preserve a special moment in time and recall it I would have to say that this was one of those special moments. When our son was born I was so happy and very proud. I was a daddy and my wife was truly wonderful in her devotion and eagerness in becoming a mommy. I was so happy for her as she endured so much throughout her pregnancy but when she held our son for the very first time all that pain went away and all she felt was pure joy.
Babies have a way of touching our lives and they help give us a sense of hope and immense joy brightening up our days, weeks, months and years ahead with wonderful moments and precious memories. I am a proud father and I live for my son. He truly makes me happy and I wish to make his life fun and filled with love, hope, joy, happiness and promise. I love being his dad and certainly would welcome another little one into our lives if it was meant to be to provide our son with a sibling and us another opportunity to raise a precious child like our precious little Matty.
The one thing you always worry about when you bring a child into the world though is that they will have a future of promise and be given opportunity and feel secure and safe. Given the times we live in today it really makes you wonder if it is wise to bring a child into a world that has so much uncertainty where we are worried about our very own survival. I can't remember feeling such uncertainty as we are encountering today. It is very sad to see this happening and very frightening that our prospects of witnessing a total economic collapse in this country is only a few days away. What will this mean to our county? What will it mean to our economy? What will it mean to our families? What will it mean to our lives as we know it? If I could make sense of it all I would still not understand how this could happen and get to such a desperate situation. This certainly is the harsh realities of life we sometimes have to face praying that compromise, unity and sanity will prevail with the leaders running this country who seem to be too proud to find a resolution together.
In times like this it is necessary to take a step back, distance yourself, have faith and be responsible for your own financial security by becoming more proactive. We owe our children a safe and promising future and we have to hold our elected officials accountable as our financial futures are predicated on the decisions they make and they have to be responsible in serving us as a nation and we have to be responsible in who we vote into office.
I kind of got side tracked on my list but it is a very real concern the state of our country today with its debt crisis as it affects our nation's financial security, the world's financial security and our financial security and if we can't assure our own financial security which is tied in to our country's situation then we will be far removed from happiness. Many people are suffering today with so many out of work, unable to feed their families and finding themselves completely disillusioned.
As I think of all this going on in Washington I just want to go to my happy place and find peace and tell my son things will be ok though I am praying for a positive outcome. The one thing I can't understand is for the longest time our government has spent, spent, and spent some more, increasing the deficit to trillions of dollars which happened over many years and decades and in one magical weekend Congress is going to bring both sides together to find a solution. This is like trying to find a peaceful solution in the Middle East. It does not seem likely. We have to really rethink how we become more responsible with our spending in not only our lives but in Washington where the heart and financial pulse of our country is at stake.
So my list follows:
1) Remembering back to my childhood and the beautiful images of my mom, dad and 2 sisters
2) Seeing my mom and dad beaming with pride at my high school and college graduations
3) My first date with my future wife
4) Seeing my sisters marry and having children of their own
5) Hearing my beautiful bride say "I do" on our wedding day and slipping the ring on her finger and kissing her as the priest recognises us as husband and wife
6) Hearing my wife say "I'm pregnant!"
7) Witnessing the birth of our son and realizing I am a new dad
8) Seeing my wife cradling our son for the very first time
9) Seeing our baby boy sleeping peacefully in the hospital bassinet
10) Holding my baby boy in my arms for the very first time
11) Calling my dad to let him know he is a grandpa once again!
12) Watching our baby boy sleeping peacefully in his crib at home
13) Sleeping peacefully at night next to my wife and our baby boy
14) Hearing our son say his first words, say mommy and daddy
15) Seeing our son crawl and then walk
16) Seeing our son eating healthy
17) Seeing our son attend his first day of preschool
18) Seeing our son growing and maturing
19) Seeing our son enjoying himself and developing friendships
20) Spending quality time with my wife and son
21) Celebrating Christmas together today and seeing my son opening his presents and getting all excited with the gifts he received from Santa
22) Remembering back to Christmases of the past when I was a kid and celebrating with my family and visiting our grand parents
23) Seeing my son smile when we spend time together going to movies, baseball games, the park, the pool and road trips
24) Family vacations
25) Winter snowstorms
27) Playing baseball
28) Reading a good book
29) Telling my wife how beautiful she is
30) Telling my son how much I love him
31) Realizing I am just scratching the surface and have so much more to be happy for
32) Working and doing my best and feeling accepted and respected
33) Driving a new car
34) Remembering my parents
35) Owning a house
36) Hearing the birds chirp in the morning
37) Seeing the sun rise
38) Seeing the sun set
39) Walking along the beach with my wife and son on a winter day
40) Swimming at the beach on a warm summer day with my wife and son
41) Spending time with family and friends
42) Seeing my wife's mom and dad smile and including them in our vacation trips
43) Attending a rock concert
44) Listening to classical music
45) Taking an enjoyable walk
46) Raising money for a good cause
47) Going to church and being close to God
48) Buying nice clothes
49) Buying my wife and son nice clothes
50) Donating to charity
51) Eating popcorn and candy with my son at the movies
I have so much more to add and feel this is or will constantly evolve and I can go on and on. The essential thing is we should all strive to be happy and for me the things that make me happy are the simple things that have so much meaning. I will say that I truly have lived a wonderful life when all is said and done. Thank you Mom and Dad, My wife and son, Maria and Matthew, my sisters Kathy and Joan, all my family relatives, my friends, all my teachers and God. It has been an incredible ride.
Dedicated to my wife and son and all those important in my life including my Mom and Dad.
Edward D. Iannielli III