What makes you smile?

In a word, happiness. So what makes me feel happy? I’ve seen “Happy Lists” around the web—some blogs I follow post these weekly—but I’d like to stress how Monday Musings are opportunities to dig deeper and (hopefully) notice something you hadn’t before about yourself or just life. Maybe your puppy makes you smile, but what specifically about your puppy makes you smile? The way he adorably runs around in circles chasing his own tail? The way he’s always waiting for you at the door when you get home? The way he’s fluffy? It’s quite possible that you love your puppy for simply being, but just give it some thought :) 

Lazy afternoons with friends: I love hanging out with my friends in general; sometimes we make plans to go out into the city to shop and eat good food, and sometimes we just hang out at the park to swing. I may be biased, but I think my friends are amazing. I love catching up with them, talking about important things, talking about unimportant things, not really doing anything at all.

Getting along with family: My family is no poster family. We don’t eat at the same table. We don’t even eat at the same time. Celebrations consist of a mere meal out. If we decide to celebrate at all. It’s not as bad as it sounds, and I don’t think we actually mind that much. We live together, we love each other, and we look out for one another (most of the time). I cherish the moments we hang out like friends: learning about photography with my dad, chilling with my mom at a coffee shop, watching Korean drama and anime with Ken, watching childhood favorites with Danny. We haven’t always hung out like this; I used to be the kid who was always getting into fights, so I was a bit hard to get along with, but I’ve been trying to bond and be a better sister/daughter.

When people start conversations with me: People probably always feel like this, so I probably shouldn’t have to worry about this at all, but sometimes I’m afraid to start conversations with people, because I think I’m bothering them. I think if they want to talk to me, they’ll talk to me, but if all people thought that way, nobody would ever talk! When people start conversations with me, I feel important (oh my, you want my opinion?? From plain ol’ me??).

When I’m able to hold the conversation: I’m shy, so when I’m around people I don’t know, I shut down and put on a poker face. On the outside, my face is probably screaming ew don’t talk to me, but on the inside, my brain is thinking wow you’re so cool, I’m not worthy of your coolness, but please talk to me. My replies are short, but only because I’m so nervous about what to say, not because I’m impatient to get away from you. Being able to hold a one-on-one conversation is a very large feat for me, even with friends I’m supposedly really close to.

When I successfully tell a story: I don’t know if I have ADHD or something, but I tend to forget what I’m trying to say when I take too long, or I’m always at a loss for words, so being able to recount a whole story is kind of a big deal. I guess this is similar to “being able to hold a conversation.” I’d also like to think that after a story I was a source of enlightenment. It’s great feeling intellectual.

People laughing with me at my jokes: Or more like “people laughing with me at my retelling of jokes I found on Tumblr,” because god forbid I tell my own joke. I like being the source of laughter, not because I like the attention—okay fine, maybe I do a bit, but just a bit—but because offering someone even a glimpse of happiness gives me the warm-fuzzies and is incredibly satisfying.

Laughing until my non-existent abs hurt: Of course, experiencing it myself is that much more satisfying! I guess the only thing that could beat it would be laughing until my existent abs hurt.

The feeling AFTER exercising: The feeling before (dread), during (pain), and right after (sweat) exercising, not so much, but afterwards? Yes. After exercising, the endorphins are kicking, my body is probably thanking me, and I feel productive. It’s the kind of productivity in which you’ve worked to accomplish something without feeling mentally exhausted.

Independence: I was telling my mom how I’m afraid of driving, because my sense of perception from the driver’s seat, or rather, from the seat overlooking the driver’s seat since I’ve never sat at the driver’s seat to drive, is skewed. I said, “I have no driving skill,” to which she replied, “You don’t have life skills in general.” Thanks. But it’s true haha. I’m the kind of person who would rather browse the supermarket for hours than ask an employee to point me in the right direction. So when I do something independently, it is to be noted. I think that’s why I’m so excited to go off on my own to start college. Other acts of independence that make me smile are late nights out with friends and starting my own conversations.

Knowing how things work: To me, making connections and feeling mindblown is a proof of intellect, or at least of growth. I like walking down the sidewalk, seeing a gap or indentation in between slabs of concrete, knowing that they were left there purposefully in the case of thermal expansion, and not assuming that it was because the construction workers found hauling over multiple, smaller slabs of concrete was easier than placing one long slab of concrete. I like smelling food and knowing that I’m actually inhaling little food particles, so essentially, I’m already eating the food with my nose. Thank you Physics 1.

Cafes: I like sitting down unnoticed while observing the bustle of life around me. The aroma of food and drinks filling the air doesn’t suck too much either. Neither does actually ingesting the food and drinks. Yup, and. All in or nothing, right?

Tumblers, mugs: They give me the false sense of sophistication.

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Oh how snarky comebacks make me smile. I like big, thick ceramic mugs that give a hearty clunk when you set them down. Another satisfying sound is that of a freshly baked pie being set on a hard counter.

Smart casual outfits: Another false sense of sophistication, but also a sense of accomplishment. I could have rolled out of bed and slapped on sweats and a t-shirt, but did I? No! I put on real pants and a real shirt. But if I don’t have to get out of the house, there’s not a chance that I’ll wear normal clothes. Once I had to leave the house just to get lunch with my family, so I slapped on whatever, and my mom said, “If you dress like this in college, then you’ll never get a boyfriend. We need to get you some new clothes.” Hey, hey, new clothes. It would be a crime to deny my mother of her wishes.

Giving into my feels: Having endured and survived high school, I still don’t think I got that whole high school experience. I’ve never been to a rugby game, which is my school’s equivalent to an American school’s American football game, I’ve never snuck out of the house, I’ve never gone clubbing, I’ve never drank alcohol, I’ve never dated, I’ve never obsessed over a boy band, I’ve never committed a crime, I’ve never murdered anyone, but I’d totally kill it at a game of Never Have I Ever. Haha, but in all honesty, I’m not a wild child and I’d consider myself a pretty contained person (to my friends: opinions?), so once in awhile I like to give into my feels, yell at fictional characters, cry over fictional characters, and <sings>let it go</sings>.

Singing when nobody’s paying attention: Because singing when people are paying attention is too much pressure and no fun at all. My favorite thing to do is mindlessly sing as I’m doing homework, suddenly hear one brother joining in from another room, and then hear the other brother joining in from another floor. We exchange lines, echo each other, and when we get as far into the song as we can until nobody can remember any more of the verses, we sink back into silence as if nothing had happened.

Musty pages: The crinkling of a used up notebook as you flip through it. The smell of aged paper as you wander through the bookstore. The sprinkling of dust as you pull the bound pages from the shelf. The inked etchings of handwritten letters… YAAAAAAAAAAAAAS!

Little things: Finding new music AKA finding Jesus, pretty fonts, good lighting, immortalizing a moment via camera, enough sleep, air con, big fluffy pillows, ice cream, compliments, my blog (if I do say so myself), looking back on the day and feeling productive.

What makes you smile?