What Makes You Happy?
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What Makes You Happy?

By Mrs. Julien | Comment Diversions | May 11, 2013 | Comments ()

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So what makes you happy? Really happy. Not tingly-bits happy, but prosaically, everyday happy.

I love baking. Butter and sugar are God's apology for a bad day. Not just the consumption of it, although that certainly helps. I love the process of preparing cookies and squares. I love the mixing. I'm not spending hours on a Dacquoise or a Charlotte. I'm whipping up a batch of cookies and, if I'm really lucky, rolling and cutting pastry. There's something very soothing about rolling out dough, especially if you get to pound it with your rolling pin first. But if I had to choose one portion of it that I love above all else, and for the purposes of this comment diversion I do, it's creaming butter and sugar. Butter in sticks is on my list of things I like about living in the United States. It comes before mail on Saturday and after Target. There's a very specific joy in lovingly dumping a stick or two of butter in the mixer with some white sugar and watching it get beaten into a smooth mass of fluffy, creamy goodness. Whipping egg whites comes close, but nothing beats butter and sugar. I find it mesmerizing and soothing. It makes me happy every time. It's heaven.

I also love a nice detail-oriented organizational task - which is good because that is a significant portion of my job. My work is not difficult, it is time-consuming, and of all the time-consuming tasks I perform, I probably enjoy making organization charts in Visio the most: Importing the data, moving the little boxes around, lining them up. It's so much fun! Best of all, I enjoy the fiddly little details I have to fix by blowing the whole thing up to 400%. Take that you misaligned subordinate box! It's a sickness, I know.


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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • DeltaJuliet

    It makes me happy when I feel genuinely appreciated, and I'm realizing that is probably why I am in a bit of a funk lately. I put a lot of time and energy into both my job and my family and lately I kind of feel like "appreciating" me is kind of an afterthought. A work example: my boss was working on a project and it wasn't coming together like he wanted. He handed it over to me and after a considerable amount of time spent on it, I did exactly what he wanted. I was thrilled and forwarded it onto him. He never said anything for several hours until I brought it up and he was like "Oh. Yeah. Thanks"

    An at-home example: Yesterday was Mothers day and my wedding anniversary. My husband gave me my card so last minute he didn't even write anything in it (like, his NAME) and he was so rushed with my last minute present he basically ruined it. He went to the mal in the afternoon to get me an anniversary present. Yeah, the same day.

    After typing that out I am realizing that complaining does NOT make me happy.

    The smell of fresh cut grass. My kids when they are happy and affectionate. A cold glass of Coke with ice. Putting on a bathing suit and looking good in it. A nice, hot, uninterrupted shower. Any Harry Potter movie.

  • Captain_Tuttle

    Waking my kid up - he's always so sweet in the morning. He stretches (so I get to see his little belly), rubs his eyes, then flops into my arms and says "good morning mama!" The perfect way to start the day.

  • Ben

    Seeing something I've never seen before.

  • People laughing at my jokes / noticing I exist.

    The simple things.

  • SarahCat

    When my husband reaches for me in my sleep. When I'm reading a good book on the deck and watching the birds fly over the lake. When my dogs come up to cuddle. When a student has an "ah-ha" moment (even if it's years later) and I get to see it. When I cook something that turns out far better than I expected. When I finally can put together a full sentence in my husband's native language and hold my own in a conversation. When I am with family and friends doing nothing in particular expect enjoying each other's company.

  • Bewegung

    Breaking a sweat through intentional strain
    Making beautiful things out of wood.
    Good movies, good conversation, and well-told stories.
    Laughter, and interesting thing to learn about.
    I am learning that these are the things I need in order to stay happy. Without any of them, I feel incomplete.

  • Zirza

    Listening to music on my iPod during early morning trainrides.
    Making my students laugh.
    Finishing a book and starting a new one.
    Taking long car trips on vacation with the boyfriend and blaring Beatles songs.
    Changing the strings on my violin.
    Cooking. And eating. Mmmm.

  • Milly

    Not necessarily every day but I find true happiness and serenity - and this is not a misuse of either word - when snowboarding.

    On those too few occasions where I can actually do it, and those times when I'm with a group of mates but can find myself alone, hitting some untracked powder, surfing through trees then I have not been as happy, or as content or had such serenity as those moments.

    The calmness that overtakes my body, with every thought leaving my head, it's an experience that I crave for. It's not adrenaline based, so I don't need to drop bigger cliffs, or look for steeper and steeper chutes, but it's something that just washes over me and I'm at peace.

    That for me is when I tell people when I am happy.

    I can find enjoyment in other day-to-day things - there are a few gorgeous driving roads where I live that can be fantastic, and the sound of a tattoo gun and the warming of my skin as I get tattooed - and I get a sense of achievement or accomplishment from work, exercise etc, but nothing, not even tingly bits, comes (phrasing! boom) close to snowboarding.

  • Milly

    Also, as I live alone, someone making me a good brew. Nothing like being asked if I want tea and then having a piping hot mug brought to me with the liquid the colour of mahogany.


  • lilianna28

    At the expense of sounding shmatlzy, spending quality time with my husband makes me happy. Hearing his silly "helllllllo" when I call after a shitty day at work. That and a bed full of family on a Saturday morning. I don't remember what made me truly happy before I got married.

  • Bodhi

    I don't care if its cliche, but my son's little toddler giggle makes me happy. And his full on belly laugh is even better. My husband & I have had a very rough year & its easy to be down about all that we've been through, but Arleigh's laughter can always bring us out of a funk

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Entertaining. I love to cook delicious foods, pour a lot of wine, and have a group of friends laughing. Sometimes I'm tired from getting the part together and I just sit there quietly drinking a glass of wine and watching, knowing I made an opportunity for people I love to get together and have fun.

    Similarly, there are days when I've sung, or performed for children, and especially after performances of plays I wrote & directed when the audience is buzzing, and talking, or otherwise letting me know they enjoyed that. It feels amazing to have contributed to people's lives in that way.

    More basic? thunderstorms. paint chips. flowers (I'm in heaven right now, since I've moved near a park). falling asleep on the couch after a big family holiday, drifting in and out of snippets of conversations all throughout the house.

  • Ringo183

    Remembering my Mom!

  • misslucyjane

    Good movies. The easy writing days. A perfect cup of coffee. Playing with my two-year-old nephew until he giggles. Rainy nights with the windows open. Having no particular place to go and plenty of time to get there.

  • chanohack

    I'm prone to depression. I have a list of things I can do to feel a little better on bad days. It doesn't always work-- part of the shitiness (shittiness?) of depression is that you can't bootstrap yourself out of it-- the worse you feel, the less able you are to do anything about it. So, I'm not one for absolutes, but I'll go ahead and put this out there: it is almost impossible to listen to "Bohemian Rhapsody" without feeling at least a teensy bit better by the end of it.

    In extreme cases, watch the Muppets version on Youtube.

  • DominaNefret

    What will always, undeniably make me happy?
    These are the only things guaranteed to always make me happy:
    Eris/Tiny Lady
    Mister Fred
    Poof Tail

  • Kati

    -Watching my kids grow into their sense of humors. They're getting to be slyly witty, and it tickles me every time they say something funny.

    -A specific kind of afternoon nap - comfortable couch, cool breeze, waves rolling in somewhere outside, a book open across my chest, nibbles and a drink within arm's reach, and total solitude. Sometimes a girl's gotta be alone with the back of her eyelids.

    -And the weird one - working out the mathy problems for my honors chem students. Especially the stoichiometry problems. Gram-to-mole conversion? Got it! How much excess reagent is left over? Yes, please! Boxing in that answer, rounded to the correct number of significant figures, makes the world an orderly place if only for a moment.

  • llp

    1. I love walking in bare feet in really green, soft, cool grass.

    2. Having people really enjoy the food I make, rather than the process - jams, baking, regular meals. I love that.

    3. My pottery class - even if I make the ugliest things you have ever seen, it is enormously calming and absorbing.

    4. Reading quietly, by myself. I miss it very much, having small children.

    5. I love and enjoy my children, but once in a while they will make a really hilarious joke or comment and it makes my whole day.

    6. I am enormously relieved to not have to carry an emergency medical kit everywhere I go. Life without the fear of a health crisis is a very comforting thing to have back.

  • Hazel Dean

    James Baxter. Jaaaaames Baxter.

  • I'll just leave this here...http://kickass-lesbian.tumblr.com/pos...

  • John W

    Whenever the NY Giants win.

    Whenever a new Marvel hero gets his/her own movie/show.

    Whenever a Republican is caught not practicing "family values".

  • Mitchell Hundred

    Sitting down and eating a sandwich after spending the entire day walking around. Things taste so much better when you earn them.

    When I'm listening to music on shuffle and a song that I love just comes up by chance. I could just click straight to it, but this way it feels like the universe is throwing me a bone. And that is a much better feeling.

    Really peaceful classical music, stuff that you need to put in headphones and not do anything else to appreciate. Like this.

    Finishing something.

  • PDamian

    Ralph Vaughan Williams -- proof of the grace of God. I'm particularly fond of "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis" and Symphony no. 5.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    5 Mystical Songs. I want them sung at my wedding & my funeral.

  • I love it when something is unexpectedly canceled, even if it was something I wanted to do. I just like getting a little extra free time and I usually waste it because I'm lazy like that. I literally leapt for joy when an appointment was canceled last week.

  • Oh and when my children smile, but that sounds hokey.

  • AvaLehra

    A good drink and lying on the couch, reading a book while the house is in complete silence. If the husband and the kid are sprawled on the floor also reading, it just makes it all the better.

  • Cooking. Especially something that involves a lot of prep-work, a lot of chopping. Nothing soothes me faster than mincing an onion.

    Now a glass of wine, comfortable pajamas, and a good book? They're my cure for everything.

    If all else fails I clean the bathroom. I can't explain that one.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I'm not with you on the last one, but I also love chopping. I like making things like fresh pico de gallo or tabbouleh that just starts with lots of vegetables that line up in lots of little bowls.

  • Alex Kuhn

    I love myself a good cleaning spree, especially when the weather is nice and I can open the windows and air everything out so it feels fresh. It sounds very house-wifey of me, I know, but I actually really enjoy scrubbing in all the corners, making everything sparkly, and getting it smelling nice. I love to stay up late on Friday nights when I have the house to myself (my husband works overnight shifts) and I can put some of MY music on blast, dust the furniture, clean the wood floors, vacuum every nook and cranny of the sectional... We have two large dogs, and I get a weird happy feeling inside when I empty that canister of dust and fur into the trash can.

    Also, cake.

  • The bf has a job that switches back and forth between all 3 shifts and I kind of love it when he's on 3rd. I can stay up late and read or watch stupid shows that I want to watch and listen to all my music and just do whatever the hell I want! I'm kind of a night owl and I also love cleaning at night. There is nothing better than tiring yourself out with cleaning and then waking up to a sparkling house.

  • Alex Kuhn

    At first, having opposite shifts was difficult, especially sleeping alone and trying to coordinate actual quality time to spend together. But I've learned to love those nights when I can stretch out across the whole bed and clean without him in the way (and watch weird stuff on Netflix!)

  • lowercase_ryan

    Travelling out of the country. I know this sounds like a given, but when I go to another country, especially for the first time, every single cell in my body feels like it had it's own espresso. It's absolute bliss for me.

    Also, playing soccer.

  • Brooke

    I've always been really lacking in the happiness department, partly because I'm bipolar, partly because I'm particular and hard to please. But, there are two surefire ways to make me happy: my five year old niece and my cats. My niece has a personality that rocks my world. I'm told that she acts a lot like I did at her age, but I'm not sure that's it. I just really connect with her and she makes me laugh all the time. My cats are all kinda old and grumpy, like me. Until they show me that shaggy fat belly and I get to rub it. Then we both melt, I get happy and they act like they're kittens again.

  • clancys_daddy
  • ViciousTrollop

    My 3 year old niece/best friend ever. It seems like nothing much has gone right in my life. I'm a mess. I have depression and anxiety. There didn't seem a way out. But then Gabbi came along.

    When I'm sat on the floor playing Toy Story or Wreck It Ralph with her for a moment I forget my troubles and I don't have a problem in the world. She's one of the only lights in what can be a dark life.

    We have the most amazing connection. She's the sweetest, funniest, best little friend I could have ever hoped for.

  • hippyherb

    Having fun with my kids. I know that sounds almost clich├ęd, but my children (24 and 19) are the funniest people I know. We all make each other laugh and we 'get' each others sense of humour.
    My family has a very twisted concept of what funny is, and I don't often meet people that have a similar sense of humour. So when the kiddies and I are together, we don't have to worry about having to filter anything. We just let it out and it is the loveliest, most relaxing thing.

  • kirbyjay

    I was just thinking how a lot of commenters wrote nieces and nephews but no one said their own kids. I'm with you, mine are 22 and 26 and they are great. My happy is when my kids and husband and I all gather around the kitchen and play with the big yellow dog. They all have a great sense of humor and the BYD is the funniest animal on the planet.
    -I also love it when I find a great book but I can read one in a day and then I'm sad when it's finished
    -Love playing cards and drinking beers with my friends. I have a real party yard with pool, cabana and pavilion and I love when the good weather hits ( it's a long New England winter) and we spend the weekends outside. I've had the same group of friends ( guys and girls) since I was a teenager so we have a real history
    -Love days at the beach with friends and family sneaking beer into plastic cups, munching snacks and frolicking in the surf
    -Love football season and watching the Patriots every Sunday, I like watching them alone or just with Mr. Kirbyjay so I can focus on the game

  • ZombieNurse

    -Big booming thunderstorms (but not the kind that turn into tornadoes.)

    -Listening to my dog snore.

    -Walking along an almost deserted beach.

    -Finding a great book that I can't put down until I'm finished with it.

    -The rare days when I allow myself to eat an obscene amount of Krystal burgers while watching something good on TV.

    -When my sister writes "Chester Drawers" instead of "Chest of Drawers."

  • Thunderstorms! We're having one right now and it has greatly improved my Saturday :)

  • Androsia

    Those first few moments in bed after a long and stressful day. Summer nights in the country. A kindness gesture from me or from anyone else. And the cliche of cliches but....baby giggles.

  • Heather Mooney

    Not as often as I'd like, but every once in a while, almost every student in my class will be throwing their shoulders out out of socket and coming out of their seats just to say something about what we're reading. In that moment, I know being a teacher is worth it. Sometimes I just stand there reveling in it for a minute before I call on any of them.

  • koko temur

    - Pictures of baby wild animals. Almost nothing fills me with more joy than a picture of tiny hippo.

    - Naps at sunset time. For some reason they feel the best. Also sleep on a heated wooden floor when its -20 outside is absolutely devine.

    - Thailand. All of it. Im almost a 30 year old woman with no life savings or property just because for the past 7 years i spent every penny i had on backpacking.

    - organizing and reorganizing my closet.

    - fancy teas. I love and know tea like some people do wine.

    - and my favorite thing ever - reading books in cozy coffee shops. with tea and cheese of some sort. And preferably a 1930's detective story.

  • koko temur

    I need one;

  • Jess

    My niece and nephew.
    The mac'n cheese from my favorite bar.
    Finding the right book for someone at work (I work in a public library).
    Big explosions in action movies.

  • I -love- watching shit go BOOM! in action movies. The bigger the better.

  • DoctorDouchbag

    Two things I guess, the first is doing a really good job, i mean acing it in every detail. I spent six years in med-school, a year in residency and now i am a year into my internship and during all this time I was in constant stress not to fuck up. A decade of my life feeling that my very best is not good enough, that it will never be no matter the empiric evidence to the contrary. when things start to just fall into place, when they run smoothly and it's partly because i did a good job, well god-damn if that ain't a deep sense of satisfaction.

    Second is sitting down with my friends, I have this close knit group of friends, we've been together since early childhood, we've gone through everything together. Due to different lifestyles and work schedules we don't get to see each other that much anymore, it's rare to get the whole gang together. So when we do find the time and meet up it's magic, the best times i ever had were sitting with my friends down at the beach, a bonfire and barbecue lit up, just talking about nonsense. Man I shouldn't have written that, I miss them like hell now.

  • googergieger

    I like listening to Alan Watts lectures/books on tape as I'm falling asleep. Great movies. Like movies you're really happy you saw. Conversations. Love having em. Love a good back and forth about anything and everything. Life in general makes me happy really. I mean regardless of what you believe in, pretty amazing thing. Life that is. I mean I feel shit plenty of times, but you're going to feel good until you feel bad, and bad until you feel good. Just the way it is. But no matter how happy or unhappy I get, these guys always manage to make me my happiest.


  • Feralhousecat

    The first sip of coffee in the morning. Purring cats. Eccentric old people. Discovering a great song I've never heard before.

  • Things with whimsy make me super happy. I could watch Pushing Daisies or Amelie or Big Fish everyday and be happy.

    Nature. Love walking on nice squishy grass in my bare feet and taking walks in the woods. My apartment has a really wonderful flowering tree right outside my kitchen/living room and sometimes I'll just sit on the couch and watch the birds and squirrels in the tree and just breathe in the wonderfulness of fresh air.

    Oh also good soul,r&b, and folk music from the 60s and 70s. So much heart and soul in there.

  • Foop

    waterfalls. Every free chance I get, I hike to a waterfall and sit by it, or if possible, in it.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I feel that way about the ocean.

  • e jerry powell

    Nothing, really. I am a bitter, bipolar gay forty-something. My nieces (well, the older one, anyway) make me giggle, but they are also major sources of stress (particularly the younger one). I have a cloud over me most of the time, and this week, with Texas weather being what it is, it's a literal one.

    Being a musician used to make me happy, but once it became a job, other people kept getting in the way.

  • Maguita NYC

    Dude, tell me! How can I cheer you up?? Who do you wanna see half naked? Momoa? Bomer? Charming Potato? Mariah Carey? Just say the word man, and I'll make it happen!

  • Mrs. Julien

    He likes beards. Can we go with beards?

  • Maguita NYC

    A gloriously furriacious Momoaning cockcrow.

  • PDamian

    Yeeeeesssssssssssss ...

  • Maguita NYC

    Those beards?

  • Mrs. Julien

    Now, you're just toying with me.

  • Maguita NYC

    Sorry for the tease, here's your gallery. Enjoy @e jerry and Rochelle, hope these "perk" you up a bit. I'm off to try Italian.

  • Rochelle

    Those are some great beards. I like the first one the best, mmmmmm Ewan. But JT kissing his beard was too much. Wear your beard, don't let your beard wear you.

  • You're missing Krasinski!! He looks fucking handsome in his beard

  • PDamian

    Throw some Momoa as Khal Drogo in there!

  • Rochelle

    I know that feeling. All of the things that make me happy are also capable of stressing me the fuck out, even the smell of coffee. I also love Texas, but there's too much baggage to make the happy list.

  • Natallica

    A glass of wine. Like Maguita said, good sex. Listening to T.Rex. Eating pasta. Any action secuence on a Tarantino movie. A sweet word from a guy I like. A warm cup of latte. Baking pizza from scratch. These are a few of my favorite things

  • Maguita NYC

    When the dooog bites,
    When the beee stings,
    When I'm feeeling saaaad,

    I simply rememberr my faavorite things,
    And then I don't feel, so baaaaaaaaahhaaahaaahaaad.

    Sex after a glass of wine (or 3) and home-baked pizza with the guy you like, is simply the best.

  • Natallica

    That's why italians do it better!

  • Maguita NYC

    Unfortunately, even if I have Italian at least once a week, I've never actually... HAD Italian before.

  • My bf is American but with 100% Italian genes...does that count? :P

  • Maguita NYC

    I have no idea. Which one makes a better lover: American Italian, or Mediterranean-bred Italian..? Which reminds me about that Happy Hooker book I read from Xaviera Hollander. She basically categorizes her customers' techniques and appetite by ethnicity and religion. Can't remember though what she said about Italian.

  • koko temur

    Ooooh t.rex! Love.

  • chump

    Looking at snow covered, untouched mountains. It's a big reason why i have an obsession with skiing. I just love looking out over them. So beautiful and it makes me feel peace and happiness inside.

    Ha mushiness i'd never put into words before.

  • chump

    ps looking at the photo up the top also makes me happy.

  • anka

    Finish an essay ahead of time and can relax a bit while I proof read it gives me joy, last time when I finished an essay I was fist pumping and jumping around.
    A cold beer after mowing the lawn, it's strangely relaxing, soothing and joyful too see it finished.
    This might sound strange, but when out of town, hungover with friends and just walking around, joking and seeing the city. Some of the funniest times I'v had was during these times.

  • rocket schmience

    drifting off to sleep on sheets dried outside in the sun and fresh air

  • katy

    Going to sleep in any sort of freshly made bed is the best.

  • Rochelle

    1. Making someone else happy.
    2. Good conversation
    3. Good story (book, tv, movie, or radio)
    4. The smell of baking cinnamon bread and fresh brewed coffee will make my day.

    5. When my niece and nephew decide they aren't too big to cuddle.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    - "A smile from a pretty girl. It's like a little bonus in your day." (tip of the hat to Quartermain)

    - A good whiskey; good food

    - Gaming with friends

    - Doctor Who (mostly)

  • Maguita NYC

    Great sex.

  • Mrs. Julien

    not tingly bits...

  • Maguita NYC

    My eyes purposely missed those words, for my mind thought only of bone deep happiness.

    It still somehow pertains to pounding dough.

  • -Getting a chance to say 'I told you so.' I love being right, especially if someone else was wrong at the same time.

    - A smile from a pretty girl. It's like a little bonus in your day.

    - Doing dishes. There is something very grounding about dishes. You can kind of uncouple your mind and let it wander while your hands do dishes.

    - Outdoor tables at restaurants. I can sit and drink some beer, smoke a good cigar, bullshit some, maybe read a little.

    - In that vein, alcohol and tobacco. Especially a good single malt Scotch.

    - My girl. After 20 years of dating terrible women and being pretty terrible myownself, I may have finally gotten it right.

  • PDamian

    Budgeting makes me happy. I realize this makes me sound money-obsessed, and perhaps I am, a bit. But I worked my way through school, and I spent years working for state university systems that paid rock-bottom wages. Now, after many years of toil, I have a tenured position at a state U, and I make a decent salary. I've purchased a townhouse, I have a very small (>2k) credit card debt (mostly due to professional memberships and profession-related travel), a healthy 401a, and, wonder of wonders, an emergency fund. Having all this after years of highly educated borderline poverty fills me with glee.

    Every two weeks, I sit down at my desk, balance my checkbook, pay bills, direct a portion of my paycheck to savings, put money in the household account (groceries, house supplies for cleaning, etc.), review my investments, send a little cash to my parents so they can party (they have pensions and SS; I pay for luxuries, not living expenses) and even set aside a little scratch for movies, eating out, and my "big" vacation fund. I'm not rich, and I'm not going to buy NYC penthouses or Lamborghinis any time soon, but just being able to take care of business at the ripe age of 48 makes me happy.

  • Jill

    I also like organization. Even if it's just a drawer, a photo album or something small like that. A small sense of accomplishment at the end is enough to make me happy.

    Also I like having sex and then falling asleep. No cuddling, no getting up and going to work, etc... Just sleep. After 11 years of marriage and with two small children, my husband and I would rather just pass out afterwards ayway. Its incredibly romantic, I assure you.

  • Sleeping after sex is the best sleep on the planet

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