The Simple Joys in Life that Help Me Smile

The daily grind can be most distressing for each and every one of us — like the challenges at work, the demands of our families, and the anxiety of failing. These psychological burdens can silently destroy our spirit and humanity; and it doesn’t matter if we are poor, bourgeois, or insanely wealthy, for the pressures of life will not relent to anybody. Some will bury themselves at work to distract them from reality. Others will endlessly turn to escapism to cast away their problems momentarily. I, however, prefer to be inspired — by a song, a photograph, or a childhood memory. Whatever it is, it will comfort and hearten my fragile psyche. Therefore, when stress and worry overwhelm my sanity, I reflect upon the simple joys that help me smile to live and strive another day.

  • I think about the mist, the calming fog that envelops the city in the early evenings of the winter, nearby where I live.
  • I think about the chill — that crispy chill that fills the air when the long, hot summer transitions to the fall.
  • I think about the waves in the big, blue ocean that would crash on me when I was a child. It was quite a thrill to hurl myself into the curling water in spite of the frigid temperature that made me shiver while I grinned.
  • I think about the crunch of a baked baguette, freshly smothered with creamy butter.
  • I think about the various people along my journey who have unveiled their vulnerability to me. It’s truly an honor when a person will open up to you and reveal a sacred aspect of themselves — because they trust in you wholeheartedly. They are willing to put their emotions on the line, knowing very well that you could hurt them profoundly; yet they continue to share regardless of the aftermath, for you have earned their trust and confidence. I’ve never taken such moments for granted as they are immeasurable.
  • I think about the times that I have cried — not because I’m sad — but because I’m happy, overwhelmed by the nostalgia of a song or a particular movie. When certain forms of art elicits tears in my eyes, I get this indomitable feeling that nothing can stop me from moving mountains…metaphorically.
  • I think about the customers at the grocery store — who have kindly offered me to go ahead of them in line — since my items of purchase were considerably few. The gesture might appear to be small, yet it still impresses me every single time.
  • I think about sensations that instantly galvanize me, like drinking cold Gatorade when I’m awfully thirsty; or finally sneezing when I’ve been trying to sneeze; or stretching my body with my arms toward the air following a siesta; or yawning massively with a wide open mouth as I start to feel sleepy; or entering a room with air conditioning after walking around in the scathing sun. But my favorite sensation is speeding down the freeway after numerous hours in congested traffic. Once I’ve passed that source of congestion (car accident or road detour), I feel rejuvenated as though my freedom has been returned to me. It’s a mammoth release of stress and tension when I step on the pedal and burn some asphalt, cruising the open freeway.
  • I think about penmanship, the beauty of writing, especially in cursive. My own penmanship is somewhat average, so I’m always in awe when I witness the magic of elegant handwriting. It’s like a piece of stylish art.
  • I think about kittens and miniature turtles that I see at the pet store. I don’t know why, but I could stand there for hours and simply observe them — just doing what they do. Additionally, I never get tired of seeing squirrels and humming birds. Their joyful innocence invariably makes me smile no matter the mood I’m in.
  • I think of certain foods, ironically — fast food — like the Egg McMuffin or the Filet-O-Fish, which to this day, no other fast food chains have been able to duplicate. And I can’t forget the hot dogs from Costco. Cheap. Tasty. And thoroughly satisfying.
  • The scent of a woman always makes me grin. I’m a slave to their fragrance, their lovely perfume. Needless to say, a radiant woman’s aroma is most intoxicating.
  • I think about New England — the Patriots to be exact. I can’t help but smile when Tom Brady and his teammates have destroyed an opponent in dominant fashion, knowing that my younger sister is incredibly ecstatic, for she’s a die-hard fanatic.
  • I think about my mother and the myriad of French songs that she had shared with me throughout my childhood.
  • I think about my father and our promenades while he enjoyed the drag of his Nat Sherman cigarette.
  • I think of my spiritual bro, Eric O’ Keefe, when he recommends a film to me that I would’ve otherwise dismissed or overlooked.
  • I think about Chewie, my sister’s doggy, when he’s peacefully sucking on his plush animal.
  • I remember the dialogues, the deep and meaningful discussions with my family and friends. These engaging conversations organically happen, for they can’t be schemed. And thereby, when they do take place, you just want to keep on talking, notwithstanding the duration or the time of day.
  • I think about the view — the aerial view of the city lights at night when the airplane begins its slow descent to the airport. While I gaze out from the window seat, the world below appears so tranquil and serene. You just can’t beat…the introspective and aesthetic moment of a late night flight.
  • I recall those nights when I lay in bed or perhaps the floor — sleepless — but not because I’m sad or anxious. I’m wide awake because I’m absolutely thrilled about a thought, a vision, or an innovative idea that pertains to my artistry. It’s a natural high that might keep me up until four in the morning. As a corollary, I’ll be exhausted at work the following day, but spiritually, I’m on top of the world! I wish everyone could somehow experience this feeling of euphoria.
  • And finally, the genuine smile, especially from a stranger, inspirits me with hope. These gentle and benevolent smiles are somewhat rare since most of us are afraid of each other. Nonetheless, when I come across a stranger who offers me a smile, I know in my heart that life is still worthwhile.


Photo credit: Tien Phan

© Moky Kinh-Quoc Huynh and MokyTiger1, Year 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Moky Kinh-Quoc Huynh and MokyTiger1 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.