Yesterday was one of those days – those days where you have a ‘eureka!’-moment. I went home to see my parents, my sister and one of my best friends and talking to each of them has made me feel a lot better. They all live around two to three hours away from me, and whenever I see them they have the power to cheer me up instantly.
I went to a beach restaurant with my friend in the afternoon. From the outside, we are like night and day – she has gorgeous, long black hair and dark eyes, whereas my blond hair comes only to my shoulders and my eyes are blue. There are only a couple of people in my world that I can really talk to about anything and be me – unapologetically. She is one of them. From the moment we saw each other again we could not stop laughing (we found out we were on the same train and spotted each other through the circular window of the door that separates the two train units). We headed towards the restaurant, arm in arm, sharing a cup of tea. It was a bit chilly so we decided to sit inside, but through the window we still had a beautiful sea view. The sky was grey with hints of blue and the sea was wild. Every now and then hints of sunshine broke through the clouds. We enjoyed a lovely cup of tea (for me) and a capuccino (for her), and then a great platter stacked with mini muffins, chocolates, strawberries, mini croissants and more (we did the best we could, but we could not finish all).
I have been feeling a bit down lately, so I discussed that with her. She listens without judgeing and just being able to speak everything that is on my mind is a big help – but besides that, she offers her view on things as well as great advice. I told her that I felt as if I was failing, some way or the other. That I had started this whole Happiness Project and this blog because I was looking for moments of happiness and be more aware of the things I do, but that I have not really been able to do that this month. That August, in which I could relax and be me, was a great start, but now that uni has started I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed again (even though I was convinced I would not be). That I am supposed to write about happy things but that I am struggling because I just have not felt that way. And then she told me about the flipside. And I had the ‘eureka’-moment. She described the flipside to me in only a few words but I just felt so much lighter. Even though in the back of my mind, I already knew that what she said was true, her saying it out loud made it so much clearer. “Of course it is not bad to feel bad every now and then,” she said. “That’s the flipside – it is because of those moments, that you can appreciate and value the happy moments even more.”
And there it was – another one of those moments of happiness.
After our heart-to-heart, a lot of laughing and even more food, we headed towards the sea. A while ago, we did the same thing – we walk along the sea and just take it all in. She picks up the occasional colourful shell, and I trace the footsteps of people who walked there before us. Together, we create stories around a log of wood and a lost sandal. We laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh until we cannot stop anymore, laugh until tears roll down our faces. We go quiet again and continue walking. I know she appreciates all the beauty around us as much as I do – because sometimes when we are walking, she stops me and points something out. A ray of sunshine on the waves, a shape in the sand, a beautiful, lilac jellyfish. Or, “Just stand still for a moment, take a deep breath and take it all in. This is one of those moments – one of those fleeting moments of happiness.”
Being home with my parents and sister this weekend was also a great feeling. Although I love my own place, when I am with them, in the house where I grew up, I feel truly at home. I was lying on the couch and heard my parents’ footsteps (I can recognise who is who by the way they walk), my dad’s music in the background, my sister’s voice. I felt the familiar feel of the couch and the cushions and smelled the scent that is just the epitome of home to me. In those moments, I can feel the stress lifting. It makes me feel safe. At dinner, my sister told us about her studies (she just started her master’s degree) and that she is so busy that she barely has time to sleep. “It reminds me of a phone,” she explained. “When the battery is low and dies, but you really need the phone so you charge it, just for a couple of minutes, so that you can use it again. You never fully charge it but keep using it and the battery just keeps running low.” I found that such an accurate description and it really stayed with me. On the bus home today, I still felt stressed but there was a change as well – although my battery is “not fully charged” and my body could use some more sleep, the weekend with my family renewed my energy. They convinced me that failling a literature essay is not the end of the world, nor is eating that extra brownie. They gave me the energy to start the coming week with renewed positivity and a calmer mind.