I’ve been meaning to write here the last 10 days. I’ve been in and out of the site and the app. I’ve been working on drafts (emphasis on “s”), but it’s just a tad difficult to get a coherent post out. Or finish one. Maybe it’s because it’s been soooooo cold in NYC of late that my brain is experiencing a literal “brain freeze”. (Heaven forbid! My dream is to grow old like Betty White and still be coherent, alert and still sexy in her 90s..)
I really don’t know how I can be writing here with a splitting headache — and maybe it’s just me trying to will the meds to finally kick in even on my second dose. But maybe the subject matter will cause my endorphins to outwit the pain racking my head right now and instead bring me to a state of zen. (Hoping.)
I’ve recently revised my Instagram profile to read:
Dinna. Filipina New Yorker. Passionate about motherhood, life, crafting and creativity. On a journey to “Happy”. On Flickr: PinayNewYorker. (emphasis supplied)
Like most people, sometimes I fall prey to the common misconception that “happiness” or “being happy” is always associated with something “big” or “pronounced” — and not “random”, which is usually how we come across this elusive “want” or “need”. I’ve learned that sometimes all it takes is a simple act, whether to acknowledge a moment of “happy”, or to extend some kindness to another to make them smile. And isn’t that what “happy” is all about?
That’s why I try to make it a point to say “Good morning” to the people manning the reception desks, whether they are from my company or not. If I know them by name, I make it a point to greet them. If I’m otherwise rushing to the second set of elevators taking me to my perch, I try to at least wave and mouth a “hello” or “good morning” to let them know people do notice them, even if the majority do not give a care. Or I smile as a faint sign of acknowledgment when I meet strangers who take the effort to get out of my way when they see I’m trying to walk past. Or when someone is wearing something particularly striking, that I mention how I love that magenta coat this stranger is wearing in the building lobby — or those fierce heels that the lady in the elevator in front of me happens to be wearing. (Shoe love, BFF Fe!)
It doesn’t take much, but it can mean a lot to the person on the receiving end.
It can simply be a genuine smile that lets the other person read the message “I see you, and I like what I see.” Or a nod of approval or smile that says “You’re awesome!”
The other day, a very elegant and sophisticated lady I work with gave me just that — a bit of kindness and she really made my day. I’ve known her for as long as I’ve had this boss — three years now — and she always struck me as very well put together. A stunningly tall African American lady who carried herself with aplomb, every inch the fashionista — and she knew how to pull even the simplest outfit into a real fashion statement. After all, she was an interior designer by profession — and if you didn’t know what she did for a living, you’d think she was a supermodel. Her taste for art and fashion were both impeccable. This was one lady who knew beauty with a capital B-E-A-U-T-Y and she radiated it with a genuine smile every time.
I hadn’t seen her for a couple of months as she shuttles from state to state where there are ongoing projects for the company, and last Wednesday, I bumped into her in this long corridor that guests would go into on their way to the floor proper. Even from afar, she lit up and exclaimed “You’re looking fabulous!” .. She and I met in the middle and hugged. I was just happy to see her.. we did small talk and she had to usher her guests in. I was on the way to do something else. It was nice to see her again. I told her she looked fab herself, but she always did!
I went about my day the usual way and on my way home, I did a refresh of the work email app, and there was this one e-mail that caught my attention from this same lady.
Subject metter: YOU…
Body: LOOK SO BEAUTIFUL!!!
A giant smile formed on my face. She didn’t have to, and that she did, meant a lot. That it was her who said it, meant a lot. It was as if she had hugged me even tighter this time. I wrote her a sincere thank you and told her she had made my day..
The next morning, I received a very short but sweet email from another friend which was a very sweet Good morning, wishing me well.. simply like that. And that, too, made my day.
We all get these little nudges from everywhere around us, but we often fail to stop to recognize them as bits of happy — baby steps or giant leaps to that elusive place we’re all trying to find ourselves in. Sometimes, you’re already there and you just fail to know it because you’re looking for that one huge dollop of “happy” that will take your breath away. It isn’t always like that.
I’ve learned to embrace those ‘gifts’ that come each passing day and cherish them for what they are, letting them enrich me even just that one moment — and sometimes, in a more lasting way. I remind myself I’m in a good place, and happy can be “here” and “right now”. Being on the receiving end of those ‘gifts’ makes me want to give just as generously to others. Sometimes, we don’t realize something so routine or simple or non-remarkable act can make someone else’s day and take them to a happy place, even just for a brief moment.
You made my day.
Be kind. Be happy. It all comes back to you. Happy Friday, everyone..