The Joy in “Ordinary”

Recently, I’ve been asked my favorite childhood memory. It took me a while; I’m terrible at choosing favorites. However, every idea that came to mind was not an extraordinary moment, but rather some sort of repeating action: playing video games with my dad, watching Spanish shows with my mom, going to the park, sneakily trying to play with dolls at night with my sister, talking on the phone all day until all the phones in our house were dead… I can go on. It wasn’t one defining moment that brought me joy or shaped my childhood. Instead, it was the ordinary, daily activities with my loved ones that I ended up holding the closest to my heart. Even now, ordinary moments easily get overlooked, but still end up being my most cherished memories later on. Don’t wait until years later to enjoy what is happening now. Enjoy the moment!

Happy 2018!

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The Secret to Happiness

Our bodies are intriguing. They are so complex that even the world’s smartest minds haven’t figured out all the intricacies that lie inside. Many people put an emphasis on parts that are being researched, such as the brain or the heart. Others will pay special attention to areas on our bodies that society deems important. What about parts like the nose? For some, it is their defining trait and we are quick to notice. However, I am willing to bet that most don’t pay attention to their own nose, unless they are in front of a mirror. Most of the time, we don’t even realize what is in front of us until we smell something bad or really good. A good possibility for why we don’t notice our nose is because our brain tends to edit it out. We don’t see it.

Happiness is like a nose. It is there all along, but our brain edits it out. We are quick to see the negative and overwhelming circumstances in life. Look in front of you. Start with the small things that make you happy, whether it is the beauty of wild flowers, or a puppy enjoying a walk. Try doing an activity that you enjoyed as a child! Reflect on what happened after a long day: Did someone treat you with kindness today? Did you do something to bring joy to someone else?

There are some phrases my dad used to say when I was a kid that I will never forget, such as the “put it back” jingle he would sing when I wanted to buy a toy that I was not going to go home with that day. One of his favorite phrases to use on my sister and I frequently was: “Pay attention.” Even as I type this, I can hear him say those two words in the specific tone he used. We need to slow down and pay attention to the countless blessings that surround us in this busy world, because happiness isn’t very far away at all.