It’s a tense time right now in the UK. The nation has felt divided since Brexit and the looming snap election has opened that wound and stabbed it with a dirty stick. My personal Facebook page is an endless landslide of anger, fear and finger pointing. And yes, I’m finger pointing too. I’m as angry as the next person and truly believe our country needs to vote in favour of hope and change. But this is not a political post. Nor a negative one. I need a break from all of that and decided to write a post about the things that make me cheerful. And not just cheerful, but bloody glad to be alive…
We all did this when we were little kids. We didn’t think twice about it. We had to be reminded and nagged to put our shoes on before we went outside. Now people think you’re weird if they see you walking around without shoes on. But being barefoot makes me feel happy. It makes me feel calm, safe and grounded to feel the warm earth or the wet grass under my toes. It makes me feel somehow looser, sillier, younger and freer. Try it some time. I do it whenever I can. I truly believe in some powerful way it helps you to feel reconnected to the earth and to nature. And we could all do with a bit of that.
Tea and cake. Coffee and cake. Wine and cake. Take your pick but make sure there is definitely cake. A nice big flat slab of it. Any cake will do. Me, I’m not fussy. (Unless it’s banana, ugh) Apple cake, carrot cake, coffee cake, fruit cake. Every now and then only a big fat squashy chocolate cake will do. The kind you get all over your face while eating. I think cake is another thing that makes me feel like a little kid. The whole act of making one, from cracking the eggs against the side of the bowl, to shaking the flour through the sieve, to sitting on the doorstep to lick the bowl out afterward. Happy times. I find making a cake cheers me up. I find eating cake has the same effect. Win, win.
Watching Children Play
I mean the kind that doesn’t involve adults. Just little kids playing like no one is watching. Just totally lost in their own little worlds. Whether it’s building Lego, or pushing cars about, or making little figures move around. I find it spellbinding. I sometimes catch my little one holding two cars or two dinosaurs and making them talk to each other. ‘Hello’ says one, ‘hello’ says the other. There might be a bit more chat before it descends into a language only he can understand. It’s magical to me that he’s totally happy to be alone, to be playing with something he chose, to be directing that play the way his developing mind sees fit, and that it is all totally real to him. Warms me up no end.
This is one of my photos from the lane I walk down every day. At this time of year from one end to the other, it’s like a tunnel of green. There are Oaks on both sides, gigantic majestic relics of yesteryear, spreading their arms across to the other side, shading the way. Splashes of colour from rhododendron, dandelions, daisies, dead nettles and pink clover. Bees humming through the wild flowers. Pigeons cooing on the telephone wires. Crows flapping past in two’s and threes. And when I turn my head, wherever I look I see a wall of green. So much green. It’s the same in my garden, due to the trees we have and the trees around the area. They are all so huge that my windows are filled with green. It makes me feel like I can breathe easier, just knowing they are there.
Singing Loudly To Music
I do this whenever I can and I have the worst voice ever. In the car, once the kids have been deposited and there is no risk of me embarrassing or deafening them, I turn it up loud and sing along. When I’m cooking the dinner, I put on an old CD, turn it up and dance around the kitchen while singing at the top of my voice. The best thing about music is the way it installs memories in your brain that will then later be exploded every time you hear that song. Tastes, smells, sounds, emotions, all will come rushing back in a an overload of nostalgia. Plus, singing and dancing cheer me up. As long as no one is watching or listening!
I’m lucky that I live in a beautiful place with a beautiful garden, but wherever you are in the world, you can go outside at night and look at the sky. This always cheers me up and calms me down. Like walking barefoot in the day, sitting up to watch the sunset or lying on the ground under the stars, is the best way to feel reconnected to the earth. It just makes me feel steady and still. Sometimes I feel like the day belongs to the people, and the night belongs to the animals. It feels a bit like trespassing to sit and enjoy it with them.
When I was a little kid I dreamed about being a writer. I also dreamed about being a mother and working with animals. All of these dreams have come true. But you never drop dreaming, or at least you shouldn’t. I dream of writing more books and of writing the one that sees me find true success. I also dream of owning a vintage VW Campervan. A real old style hippy bus. I’d like to live in it eventually and leave the house to the kids if they need it. But before that, I want to go travelling. I want to jump in the van every single weekend with the husband the kids and the dogs and go somewhere we have never been before. I want to work our way all around the UK and then move on to Europe. I want it to have crochet blankets and wind chimes and lots of cushions! We’ve been saving up for nearly three years now. It’s a family thing. we’ll get there one day!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my personal reasons to be cheerful list. There are so many more things I could have added it to it, like reading and writing, gardening and going to see live music. How about you? What cheers you up when the world feels like a scary place? What’s on your reasons to be cheerful list? Please feel free to comment and share!
11 thoughts on “Reasons To Be Cheerful”
Ahhh, the greenery! So beautiful. That’s one thing I miss being in Australia…nice article Chantelle 🙂
Thank you Mark! I am so lucky where I live. It’s incredibly green at this time of year. Love it!
I agree with all you have written here apart from the cake bit.
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Do you not like cake, Ian? 🙂
You know the paradox of Schrödinger’s cat, the cat’s in box and it’s both dead and alive at the same time(the cat not the box)…. but once you open box to observe it, the cat will definitely die….
I was just thinking about that, how we behave differently when we are observed as…. singing and dancing when no one is listening or watching…
Or even the kids at play do they know if you are watching and some of it is for your benefit how differently do they behave totally unobserved I wonder…..
what goes on in their heads too. now that I want to know lol
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Thanks for reading and commenting Beaton! Hope everything is well with you. I do think it’s interesting and lovely to watch small kids at play when they don’t know you are looking. Eavesdropping is equally funny!
Very nice post and a great reminder for us to appreciate the little things in life that bring so much happiness. Several years ago when I was depressed for days or weeks at a time, my husband asked me to think of a few things that made me happy. Sadly, I came up with a list of two items: puppies and meatballs. When I heard how dreadfully pathetic I’d sounded, I vowed to get out of my funk and start looking around for things that brought me joy. Gradually the veil of depression lifted and I was once again able to recognize the beauty all around me, listen to the the sounds of birds singing their morning songs, and enjoy the simple pleasure of licking off the knife after frosting a cake.
Life is good.
Thanks for reading and commenting Irene! I’m really really glad to hear life is better for you now. Birds singing is one I should have added! Absolutely wonderful every time.
I could identify with every one of these on your list. I’d like to add one more for myself though. We have a little cottage in Kefalonia that we’re renovating. We can’t stay in it yet but every time I see it, I feel so happy and peaceful, it’s a beautiful country and I love to think we actually own a tiny part of it.
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Thanks for reading and commenting Debbie! Where is Kefalonia? I’ve not heard of it! Sounds lovely though!