I’ve always been a long-term thinker. I bought our old house because it was in the zone of one of the best secondary schools in the state. I did this when my oldest was still in kindergarten. He wasn’t yet 5 years old
I set a goal to pay off that house before I decided to start investing. It took me a long time, as I wrote about here in ‘The story of how Frogdancer Jones won her Freedom.‘ But I had the goal of complete security for myself and the boys in front of me and I kept chipping away at it until the job was done.
I have always wanted to travel. I mapped out my dream holiday in the UK and Europe when I was 15.
It took me until I was 51 before I finally got to go. Actually, the header picture of this blog is the skyline above Hampton Court Palace in England, which was a dream come true for this Tudor-history buff. Those clouds remind me that I’m one of the luckiest people around.
Yes, I consider myself to be extremely lucky, so much so that nearly every day I’m calling myself “Fortunate Frogdancer!” when yet another thing goes my way. But I didn’t always see myself like this.
The first few years after I left my husband and set out on
Money was tight. I had good friends and family, but it’s still quite an isolated life being at home with small children. There’s only so many times you can sing, “I’m a little teapot” along with the presenters of ‘Play School’ before you feel like your brain is turning to mush and dribbling out from your mouth as you sing.
Because money was tight, I didn’t go out very often. It took 2 years after the separation before I could even think about dating again, but when I started, most men obviously heard the magical sentence “I have four children” and that was it. The ones who didn’t seem to care were sometimes a bit creepy so that wasn’t anything I wanted to pursue.
I remember sitting on the front porch one night after the kids were in bed, feeling anxious about the future and worrying that we were never going to get ahead. I was probably still about 2 years away from going back to work at that point and it seemed as if the position I was in was never going to change. It all looked pretty bleak.
I was getting teary, thinking about our bleak, poverty-stricken future and wondering how it was that all my goals were so far out of reach when I was a well-educated person who should have run things better. That started to get a bit depressing, so I thought I’d better do something productive, so I started watering the garden.
This garden was pretty much one that I’d inherited from the old lady who lived in there before me. One of the plants was a big, lush rose bush with huge white flowers ruffled with pink. As I was worrying about all of my big goals being so far out of reach, I leaned forward on a whim and smelled one of the roses. (You can see the rose bush in the photo – Evan18’s Valedictorydinner 4 years ago.)
I smiled. The scent was glorious. I turned around to put the hose onto another section of garden and realised that I was still smiling.
My eyes widened as I realised that I’d just been given the secret to happiness.
Appreciate the little joys in life. They come along much more frequently than the big things!
It’s so true. From that moment on my life has been wonderful.
Did I feel great when I finally paid off that mortgage? You bet. One of the best moments of my life.
How did I feel when I was walking through Westminster Abbey, seeing all of those tombs of the English Kings and Queens? I was overcome with happiness and awe and I knew I’d never forget that day.
Was it worth all of the angst when the geo-arbitrage gamble I made paid
But these things only happened on a handful of days that I’ve lived. If I waited for all of the big things to happen so that I could feel great, I have to tell you that it’d be a long time between drinks!
But little things happen every single day. We just choose to gloss over them while we have our eyes on the bigger prizes.
When you switch your focus to living more
*The smell of a cup of French Earl Grey tea as you raise it to your lips. It’s a tiny luxury.
*When you come home after a long day at work and someone else has started dinner!!! You sit down on the couch and they bring you a glass of wine. (I had to wait a long time for this to happen. Kids take a long time to grow up.)
*The completely unselfconscious sound of a small child laughing.
*Getting the last car park.
*The gentle weight of a dog’s head lying in your lap as you read a book. So much love and trust.
*The sound of the sea. The smell of the salty air. Seagulls soaring overhead.
*Hearing a bird sing as you’re waking up in the morning.
*The sound of a storm outside, while you’re warm and snug inside. It’s even better if you eat a bowl of
*Finding out that the next season of a favourite tv show is out on Netflix. Or the next instalment of a series of books you love is being released. Or a sequel to a novel you’ve loved for decades is being written. (Margaret Attwood is releasing a sequel to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ later this year. Pretty darned exciting…)
*Cracking a joke and everyone laughs. Or even better – someone else cracks a joke that you didn’t see coming and YOU laugh.
*Dancing, especially if you know the song so you can make all the moves, baby.
*Trying out a new recipe and that first taste-test when you realise that you nailed it. You feel like the greatest chef ever.
*That lovely feeling after you cut your toenails. So freeing. Or is that just me?
*Teaching somebody something and that look in their eye when they understand it.
*Catching a ball. This has happened very rarely in my life, but I think that even if you’re used to doing it, it must still be very satisfying.
*Still on the subject of balls – throwing a ball for a dog. They’re convinced that it’s the Best Game Ever and they never get sick of it. Such a simple thing.
*A cat’s purr. I think that’s one of the most contented sounds in the world.
*Hearing a song that you haven’t heard for YEARS and you can still sing along to all the lyrics.
*That satisfied feeling of tiredness at the end of a really productive day when you’ve gotten a whole lot of things done.
*Realising that you’re having a good hair day.
*When you silently share a glance with someone and you realise that you’re both on the same wave-length.
*Finding $20 in a pocket that you forgot you put there. It’s like free money!!
*Sunlight on your skin on an autumn day.
*The laughter and chatter of friends sitting around a dinner table.
*When your child actually acts on your advice, or when they compliment you on your taste in music.
That’s a list of 25 small things that I put down completely randomly off the top of my head.
Normally I don’t finish my posts with questions for my readers, but do you have a small thing that brings joy for you? It might be cool if we get a list of small things in the comments. I’ve started the ball rolling – so what little thing brings a smile to your face?