reasons to be cheerful, part 1

The Renaissance Monkey wrote something t’other day about things that make one disproportionately happy. It brought a smile to my face so started adding things:

  • Strangers who open doors (the real kind, I’m not talking about opportunistic networking)
  • A smile (with no nefarious or obscene intent) from a fellow TFL passenger
  • Coming in from the cold to a warm smile and a warmer hug (this goes hand in hand with his wet winter’s day one, with which I wholeheartedly and enthusiastically agree – only I’ll have a nice man, please, to go with my book)
  • Chilli Spicy Tuna Maki at Bob San
  • When you’ve got your iPod on shuffle and you’re thinking about someone and suddenly a song comes on that always reminds you of that person and you grin like an idiot for a second or ten
  • East facing bedroom windows
  • A lunchtime visit to see the Dancing Girl
  • A freshly sharpened knife for chopping
  • Fresh hot ginger tea
  • Finding a key on the ground when out for a walk
  • The meta-tamarind and similar nonsenses
  • Sun on the water
  • Exchanging greetings with your favourite vendor in Columbia Road Flower Market
  • A compliment when you weren’t trying
  • Sleeping with Nelson the Dog or the dear, beautiful, departed Kittenhead

But at one point during the listing (the one about compliments, actually, which began as “Encouragement that comes when you need it more than you’d thought”, I had to stop myself to and ask, “is that really a small thing? Does that qualify?” And this thought is still circling in my head: why do these count as small things? Is it because they might go unnoticed by others, or by ourselves? Or because they don’t cost much? It can’t be based on size or time commitment – a diamond is (hopefully) physically small, but to receive one is (hopefully) not a small deal by anyone’s measure. A kiss might only take a second, but it can change the whole world for the two who are in it.

I’m not trying to be overly pedantic or willfully obtuse, I promise. But this interests me – why should we classify things as small when they clearly mean a lot to us? Some people I know, some things I love, every time I see them my heart does a little leap. Is that a small thing? To me, it’s huge.