Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ordinary Happy



The first time it happened was I don’t know how long ago – but I was hanging washing, on a crispy, autumn, Sunday afternoon, knowing that the bright sun was all show, no action. The washing would be as damp by sundown and damper still in the morning. One kid was asleep, one pottering in the sandpit, one not even the faintest twinkle in an eye. The Mr squinted against the slanting bright light, finally finding time for a Saturday newspaper. Somewhere the planets aligned and there was a bit of quiet and a bit of space and I thought, I am happy.

I was a bit caught out. Are you supposed to find happy in the mundane? Aren’t you supposed to win Tattslotto, or at a bare minimum, a world cruise, or become a reality TV show winner, or own a multi-bazillion dollar business? Newly arrived back in Melbourne, finding our feet, looking for work, small anklebiters, hiccups and setbacks and comedy-of-error days – an ordinary life no worse than most and certainly infinitely luckier than a kazillion others inhabiting this planet and, that day, pegging wet odd socks on the line: happy. Grateful.



Most of the time, I play catch up. Family stuff, friend stuff, household stuff, work stuff, stuff-stuff. There isn’t usually much leftover head space to contemplate where things are at, where I am at. I’ve had a lovely three days filled with a Stitches & Craft Show and putting faces to bloggy names, a Saturday evening soirée, a family trip to the Camberwell Market today, then over to Mum’s to celebrate a few generations of women. Away from usual routines, I found some think space. As well as ordinary, sneak-up-on-you happy. Covered in a layer of Monday morning stuff in a matter of minutes, (no one has any clean underwear for tomorrow), it’s a happy that isn’t twee or smug, although I imagine this is precisely how it sounds. The reason it isn’t, is because I am clangingly aware how the flap of a butterfly wing, or a tiny twist of fate, can turn someone’s world on its head.



This weekend I didn’t photograph places or events or people but I did take a photo of some ordinary, spent flowers rescued from a garden tidy, that make beautiful shadows on my wall at 4pm, the mossy seat furniture offering in our gnarled and magic apple tree – and lemons. Because when life gives you lemons, make lemon curd. Ordinary, everyone-lick-the-bowl, happy.

60 comments:

Mermaid said...

I have moments like that, when everything seems ok and I am simply happy with life, even though I can be doing the most mundane thing.

THe pictures are gorgeous too.

Now to do some more mundane things!

brownhairblueribbon said...

My experiences over the last few years have definitely shown the joy of the everyday.
You put this celebration into words beautifully.

ArtMind said...

So beautifully worded! Happiness is biggest when it's small. Thanks for this inspiring post! :)

Lola Nova said...

Lovely words. I love when those small moments seem to sneak up on me, within the everyday-ness, just a tiny miracle of happy. Tenuous at best until the wind changes and we are sent running to the next moment. Still, on the deep down level it sits and simply is.
Thank you for sharing.

A Peppermint Penguin said...

Good on you. Enjoy it.

Cheers,
AJ

Andi said...

You write like I dream of writing.
Beautiful post.
Happy mum's day for yesterday.
Andi x

june at noon said...

Glad you can find those moments. It sounds like a good kind of happy. Happy Mother's Day!

Buttons by Lou Lou said...

Beautiful. I'm glad you had such a nice weekend and I hope you can hold onto all of your lovely thoughts through some mundane moments this week.

PS - Can't wait for our lemons to ripen to make some curd.

Lou.

yardage girl said...

Great post, Tania - refreshing to say the least. Have a lovely, happy week. Nic

Cindy said...

You are far from ordinary lovely lady.

red or gray said...

the very best kind for sure ..ordinary happy..yes I like it

Miss Sew & So said...

i loved that.....
i so understand those feelings...
maybe they come when doing the 'normal' daily things, so you truely 'feel' the happiness...
you can't say its a 'reaction' to that particular 'unusual' moment...

i felt no 'smug' -just a special spot...enjoy it...that was lovely..

melissa x

Little Ted Canvas said...

Precious moments like that do take you a bit by surprise. I think it's lovely to find complete happiness & contentment in the ordinary, good for you!

Cath @ chunkychooky said...

I think it is when you are doing the mundane tasks and the happiness sneaks in - that is when it is most genuine. I think when you win lotto it is kind of a different happy... when you are noticing happy in the simple and ordinairy, when you realise that you really do have everything you always wanted, that is real happiness, plus as my favourite author, Dr Gordon Livingston says you need three things to be happy:
1. something to do ( parenting, paid work or volunteering, )
2. something to look forward too ( a nice hliday, watching your children grow up, growing old with your beloved)
3 and something to love ( partner, child, friends, animals)
... sounds like you have all of those things, and importantly you noticed that you do. I think it is fabulous. Lovely post. x

Tracey said...

ahh, the bliss of just being. Have a blissful day. I do love the fairy furniture and is there anything better than licking out the pot of lemon curd? (I do believe my first blog post ever was about doing that very same thing!)

CurlyPops said...

Ordinary happy is the best type of happy to be.... a cup of coffee and vegemite toast (instead of lemon curd) make me happy.

Christina said...

Thanks for the reminder Tania. You are so right. :)

One Flew Over said...

Happy Mothers Day Tan xx

teddybearswednesday said...

this is a beautiful post Tania. I agree with Cam, the ordinary Mundane happiness is best kind of happiness. the simple enjoyment of life and the beauty in the ordinary. xo

Kirsty said...

Super post. My happiest moments are the everyday moments. Really, truly happy autumn days to you T.

ellie said...

I think the times happiness happens is in those moments when you least expect it. Those simple moments - hanging washing, the sudden stillness when everyone is contentedly doing their own thing for just one single.split.second, a bird calling through the clear sky, the sun shining on you in just that exact particular way.
When we search and search, and plan and plan it doesn't happen. Not the way we expect anyway. When we stop searching, somehow - sometimes - happiness finds us instead.
I remember a book that my mum read once (which is on my reading list one day, when I have a few spare head moments) called "After the Ecstasy the Laundry" by Jack Kornfield. It's about when you find enlightenment, life continues on - you still have the laundry and the mundane moments of life. But I think those moments before something more themselves.

Thank you so much for sharing these images and your moments of happiness.

Michelle said...

The best kind of happy.

Beautifully written, I hope you keep finding those moments.

Tanya said...

ahhh, contentment

m.e (Cathie) said...

beautifully written Mrs T!
and i love Cath's comment aswell, well said.

your sandwiches were amazing at the stitches, my 4yr old wanted to take one home with her :) heheee...we didn't, it had a bite taken out of it..hehe

Leonie Guld said...

The Buddhist call it stillness. Great place to be!!

Megan.K. said...

It makes me happy just reading this Tania. I love the way you write, just love it.
Thank you.
x

Fer said...

It's a rare feeling, and always seems to catch us by surprise. When we least expect it a wonderful feeling of euphoria spreads over the body, and you never forget it! :)

Frog, Goose and Bear said...

I always love reading your posts!

1. That sounds like true contentment. I have been making an extra effort lately to 'savour' those quiet moments where all aligns- keeps you sane - that little calm before the storm of usual craziness returns.
2. I love the fairy garden!! I remember making those when I was a child.
3. I have posted so much about lemons and lemon recipes and I have never made lemon curd - do you have a recipe you'd share? I have lemons galore!

lilredsquirrel said...

A lovely inspiring post that just lifted me up on an 'ordinary' Monday morning. I hope the feeling contines.......Nic

Stomper Girl said...

And how great that you had the mental clarity to notice and savour your happiness, and a forum here to record it.

Work/life balance? You haz it.

tea with lucy said...

Love your way with words (and pictures) Tania.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. How somedays the simple things bring me so much joy. Then the next day, in a different headspace, I find the very same things mundane and frustrating.

Making the most of those happy days!

kim at allconsuming said...

Totally get it. Mine often occur at the same sort of moments - when everything is so, non. So, normal. It washes over my like the first rays of warming sun, taking my breath away, almost physically knocking me backwards as I survey the absolute train wreck of our house/backyard and see these children we made, these people we are nurturing, this family. This world.

Those moments don't happen all that often but when they do they sustain me through all the 'stuff' until the next one creeps up on me.

Loz and Dinny said...

This has made me smile to bursting - which, in my current condition, presents clear and present danger ... that's how much I think you're ace ... I'm a risk taker, man.

Melanie said...

I have been catching myself thinking just that recently. I am happy. Just in the oddest little moments. I think it has a *lot* to do with my kids gradually being able to find themselves something to do, not being so thoroughly reliant on me every moment of every day. It's a good happy, and you have expressed it perfectly :)

PS. My word verification is 'ingeters', which I am having a terrible internal struggle with, as I want to correct the typo to 'integers'

flowerpress said...

Yes :-)

Karen said...

Ahhh perfect. Lovely post Tania.

ecoMILF said...

Sounds like you found some space this weekend. I often have "A-ha" moments hanging the laundry. The methodical and repetitive nature always makes me happy, plus the little one is always pottering around at my feet and is happiest outside in the yard. xo m.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

One of those perfect moments that glow .

Jolijou said...

so true!!!
xxx andrea

katiecrackernuts said...

Sounds just like the kind of happy that's just perfect. Happy days indeed.

Nikki said...

Perfectly ordinary happiness is the best kind, methinks.... a great baseline from which to draw the occasional peaks and troughs.

Panda said...

I had that ordinary happy on Mothers Day, watching my kids play together in the park, surrounded by other families doing the same thing. Bliss. As would be that lemon curd.

Chicken Willow said...

Lovely post, thanks

Gina said...

Weird but those feelings of contentment and gratitude have occurred most often for me at the clothesline too. Or when making lemon curd at 5:45am...

Cherie said...

Oh Tania Bliss, pure beautiful bliss you describe so gloriously eloquently ;)) Made me warm and fuzzy knowing exactly what you mean, loving my bliss too ;) Thank YOU. xo

Sandrine said...

Happiness...Hmmm it seems like everyone is trying hard to reach it:)
It also seem a little different for all of us.
What a great "place to be" you have just described so well.But yep most importantly... make sure you can remember its path "when life gives you lemon" you are right!xx

Nycole said...

I drool over your words!
Gorgeous pics, as always. And loved your sandwich wall at the Stitches and Craft show - looked fantastic!

Emjie said...

Ah! Those perfect moments, when all is right in your world. No amount of money can buy that sort of happiness.

Madeline said...

Beautiful. I like ordinary happy the best of all. It's sneaks up on you in it's quietness and loveliness.

Little Munchkins said...

That is a lovely post. Sometimes, just the simplest things in life makes us happy, don't they?

heather said...

that's the way it happens, right>? i was recently thinking how i can't sustain happiness, and feeling a little like a failure because of it....but now you've got me wondering if that's just an absurd idea! happiness really does like to sneak up on us. no wonder i like it so much! it is so elusive and hard to get. maybe i will start playing hard to get back! and then she'll be all over me! do u really make lemon curd? i've never had that.

Cathy {Tinniegirl} said...

You are so special Ms T. You make me happy. xxx

chaletgirl said...

Beautiful post. Thank you so much.

Kylie said...

Just gorgeous Tania... that pretty much nails it :) Kx

p.s. Still giggling at your comment over at Emma Lamb's..! Made my night, it did.

nikkishell said...

Hooray for ordinary happiness. The best kind there is. :)

Mel said...

Can't believe I missed this lovely post! Not the least bit twee or smug, just calm and content and a lovely reminder.

(so tempted to add a smile there but see? I didn't!)

katiecrackernuts said...

Still getting a kick from that fairy seat. Tee hee.
Now, go on, you HAVE to admit to the 1970s decor love. You HAVE to.

craftschmaft.com said...

Sneak-up-on-you happy is the best kind there is. It can't be bought, sold, forced or sought after.

So great to meet you at S&C Tania!

Melanie Gray Augustin said...

Beautiful. I've been having one of those "life is ordinary and I'm happy" afternoons.

quirkygranolagirl said...

i was struck with a few different moments of that same kind of happiness today. you are much more eloquent at putting it into words, though. thank you.