Some people like to call it a gratitude list. They might even maintain some form of a gratitude journal. Some people might take this opportunity to give thanks, but we already gorged on turkey last month here in Canada. No, I think what I’m going to do today is borrow a page from Amber Strocel and call it a happiness list. It’s just so much more cheerful and positive, wouldn’t you say?

Yes, we all have our struggles. We all have our reasons to be upset or angry or frustrated. Politics can be divisive. Stress can get the best of us and we can easily lose sight of all the great things in our lives. I needn’t remind you that if you have the means to read these words, you’re already ahead of the curve.

So, what makes me happy lately? Let me count the ways.

  1. The Grand Tour. Yes! The boys are back and they’re pretty well up to the same kinds of shenanigans as before, but with a bigger budget and fewer restrictions. Let’s just get rid of “the American,” shall we?
  2. Project completion. I’ve said before that a sense of accomplishment is one of the best feelings in the world. I’m working on a few things and I know that when they’re done, I’ll enjoy my moment of satisfaction.
  3. Unexpected gestures. Sometimes, you forget that other people really do care about your well-being, even if you don’t see one another as often as you’d like. When friends express genuine concern and go out of their way for you, you can’t help but to feel grateful.
  4. Validation and recognition. I keep putting myself out there, so it’s nice when someone notices. I’ve been getting invited to more media events recently and I even got to check out some new shoes. That’s pretty cool.
  5. Honest affection. A couple of weeks ago, I tweaked something, resulting in some severe pain in my neck, shoulders and mid-back. When I winced, my two-year-old walked over, kissed me on the neck, put her blankie on my shoulder, and asked, “Better?” She’s so sweet.
  6. Getting stuff done. It’s awfully rewarding when I feel like I’ve had a particular productive day at work, even if it’s all in my head.
  7. Helping others. I recently helped to connect a fellow dad blogger with a local organization, resulting in him getting an all-expense paid trip for his family of four. When you make someone else’s day, your day shines a little brighter too.
  8. A good book. I’ve been trying to stick to my promise to read at least one book a month. As much as I subscribe to the digital, connected lifestyle, diving into a good book provides a much needed escape.
  9. New cellphone plan. You may have heard the news about a limited promotion plan with 4GB of data and unlimited province-wide calling for $40. I got that. And it’s a vast improvement over the plan I had previously.
  10. Quiet time. I feel particularly fortunate that I get to spend so much quality time with my daughter. It can be stressful and it takes away from “productive” time at work, but it’s worth it for those treasured few moments.
  11. Cloud backups. I remember when I had to back up the data on my PDA, and later my smartphone, manually through a dock. These days, those backups are not only seamless and automatic, but they’re saved to the cloud for access from anywhere, including the thousands of photos I take.
  12. Street Fighter. No, I don’t play nearly as often as I may have in my pre-parenting days, but it’s so satisfying to get in a good button mashing session now and then. Even if I consistently get clobbered online.

Life can be hard, so it’s all about taking on the right perspective to turn things around. What about you, dear reader? What’s on your happiness list?