Other people’s words about … happiness

Happiness doesn’t come in the way I expected; not a massing of good things over time, but a succession of small, strange and unowned moments — the sun makes a hot oblong on the bedroom floor and I stand in it with my eyes closed. The coriander germinates in the window box and up comes the seedling. The bled radiators stop knocking at night.

From ‘Dear Thief
by Samantha Harvey

I thought it was apt to write a post on happiness today, to accompany my previous post on sadness — though perhaps both posts are, after all, about the same thing, simply taken from opposing perspectives.

But also it seemed apt to me to write a post about happiness because today’s post, I think, will be my last post, at least on this blog, twenty-one words.

Over the years, I’ve written about many things on this blog — the sea, the sky, vomiting, writing, books, therapy, running, walking, travel, birds, flowers, hope, to name a few. But in many ways, I see, looking back, that I’ve been exploring, post by post, what it means to live a small life in the happiest, or at least the most meaningful and most humble, way I know.

Happiness, as Harvey says, isn’t something you can accumulate or amass; it most surely isn’t something you can own. It flits into our lives and out again. Writing this blog has been, for me, both a meaningful and a humbling experience — and in that sense it has been a happy experience for me, too. I don’t know if my posts have brought you, my readers, any moments of happiness, but I hope so: I do.

I spent over half my life waiting for the accumulation of happiness and then I realised that it doesn’t accumulate at all, it just occurs here and there, like snow that falls and never settles. Not the drifts that you and I imagined we would plough ourselves into, but instead gently, opportunistically, holding one’s tongue out to catch the flakes.

I’m not sure yet whether I’ll leave this blog up for posterity (i.e. for a little while!) or whether I’ll take it down altogether, or whether, perhaps, I’ll change its privacy settings so that you can only access it by contacting me first. (Please feel free to do that, if it’s what I do.)

In the meantime, I’ll go on running and walking and hoping and reading and looking, looking, looking.

I’m still on Instagram and post there regularly — mostly photos of the beach and of nature (no selfies, I promise!). Please feel free to hop on over and join me there if you’d like.


Thank you to everyone who’s read this blog. Take care of yourselves. Keep reading and looking. Keep savouring those fleeting moments of happiness, whenever they come your way.

6 thoughts on “Fleeting

    1. Thank you, lovely Eliza. I will continue to read your blog — your posts and thoughts have always given me great pleasure :). And thank you for going on over to Instagram and opting to follow me there. I have found some lovely, like-minded people on Instagram — people who enjoy things that I enjoy, and that I think you also enjoy: nature, sunsets, small moments of beauty. Instagram can be a shallow platform, one that encourages form over substance, surface over depth … but if you choose your feed carefully, it can also be entirely the opposite. I’ve found, in fact, that Instagram brings small moments of beauty into my day, which others have captured and chosen to share. Take care, Rebecca xo

  1. I would be extremely grateful if you would consider leaving your writing up for at least a little while. The NSW English syllabus has just changed, and at a conference I am at today I have just realised that your blog is just right for helping my year 12 class with a particular writing issue. I have loved reading it; my class would, too.

    1. Hi Fiona, thank you so much for your comment. I’m glad you’ve found my blog useful, and I hope your students do, too. I worry that it’s a bit too personal, but when I get feedback like yours, I think it’s worth it. I’m leaving it up for now, I promise :). Do let me know if I can be of any help with your students — I’d be more than happy to. xo

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