You know those days where you have some old obscure song stuck in your head, and you get in your car and turn on the radio to hear that exact song playing? Or you come across an old yearbook and thumb through it, remembering your secret crush, only to have your mother call a few minutes later to tell you she ran into that person who you have not seen in over a decade that very morning at the grocery store?
Or, you start a blog exploring the best thing about each day and you are driving to work on three hours of sleep because your baby decided it was a good time to practice all of his new tricks in the middle of the night last night, and you know that this particular day is probably going to have nothing at all fabulous about it, and you hear a piece on NPR with Daniel Gilbert on your commute that speaks to the very thing you are trying to parse, filling you with a renewed sense that all is right in the world and the universe wants you to be happy?
Then, a few hours later, you start to cobble together a post on your approach to chili because you had mentioned it in yesterday’s post, only to go to lunch with your boss and a consultant and have chili recipes be the main topic of appetizer conversation because both of your dining companions love to cook chili and try different variations wherever they go. OK, so maybe that last one didn’t need the italics to indicate some other-worldly punchline, but you get the general picture.
I LOVE stuff like this. I soak up stories of strange coincidences and eerie tales and savor the little thrill that you get when you find out at the end that the girl in the locket from the yard sale is that woman’s own great-grandmother! It makes you think that even choices and moments that seem so mundane or routine could take on a whole new mysterious, fabulous meaning at any time. Shiver.
Going back to the NPR piece, I was especially pleased (ha!) to be reminded of Gilbert’s work on what makes us happy. I read Stumbling on Happiness, and took a lot from it at the time. A few years and a marriage and a kid later, his findings make me think a little more about how I would define happiness and where I am on that spectrum of experience right now. In turn, that makes me think a little more about why I feel the need to take on something like this blog, and what effect this may have on my overall happiness.
In that segment, Louise Hay says, “Happiness is choosing thoughts that make you feel good.” I think that speaks to what I am trying to do here a little bit, but I certainly can’t throw in with her completely due to the reasons Gilbert cites, namely her distrust in science and her belief that positive thinking is where it’s at to cure everything that ails you.
This is where I should probably disclose that I have been participating in conversations recently about Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America (great book, definitely recommend it) as it relates to the positive thinking movement – so maybe my ear was already attuned to pick up on chatter about this sort of thing as I drove to work this morning.
But that doesn’t mean I won’t shudder a little from the thrill when the unseen tumblers that control the forces of the universe click into place to make my husband realize that my feet could use a massage at the exact second they start creeping toward his lap on the couch tonight.
So, Fabulous Thing #4: A little bit of synchronicity that saved me from a Case of the Mondays.