by Valerie Nusbaum

Happy September

I’ve heard and read that happiness is a choice we make. According to the experts, we can wake up in the morning and choose to be happy or we can choose not to be. Apparently, it’s up to us whether we see the glass as half full or half empty.

There are all kinds of happiness projects and experiments out there, so I decided to conduct one of my own, and as usual, I dragged Randy along for the ride.

A friend of mine is taking a photo of something that makes her happy and posting it on social media every day. Her project is called “100 Days of Happiness.”

Knowing that I’d lose interest quickly, I opted for something shorter and less labor intensive. Quick and easy makes me happy.

The rules for my happiness project were simple. For one week, Randy and I would each make note of three things that had made us feel happy during the previous day. I would record our thoughts, and at the end of the week, we’d see if there was a pattern or some rhyme or reason. The three items would not necessarily be the top three things that made us happy the day before, nor would they be in any particular order. They would simply be the three things we remembered most easily, and seriously, any time I can remember anything, it makes me happy.

Our project went something like this:

Day 1


(1) I didn’t have to cook dinner or think about it (Randy brought home a pizza); (2) I made it home safely (traffic was terrible on Rt. 15 that day); and (3) I spent a few minutes with my mom.


(1 and 2) He woke up, he came home from work (those are two separate thoughts. Randy didn’t wake up and then come home from work); and (3) The sunflowers were blooming.

Day 2


(1) Randy brought me a donut with a smiley face; (2) Randy caught a fish; and (3) I finished polishing the bedroom furniture.


(1) He went fishing; (2) He spent the day with me; and (3) Everyone was healthy enough to be home.

Day 3


(1) I spent the day with Randy; (2) Randy helped me with the groceries; and (3) I found a quarter in my grocery cart.


(1) He spent the day with me; (2) He ate coconut macaroons; and (3)He didn’t have to go to work.

Day 4


(1) I had the whole day at home—there was nowhere I needed to be; (2) I finished the treadmill two minutes sooner than planned; and (3) I watched American Ninja Warrior.


(1) The sun came up and he could enjoy it; (2) He has a job and is able to do it; and (3) People are willing to sacrifice for our freedom.

Day 5


(1) I survived a trip to Walmart; (2) I didn’t have to drive home in the rain; and (3) My old blue bathrobe.


(1) He spent the evening with me (I swear these are his answers. I didn’t make it up); (2) He got a new hose; and (3) He enjoyed planning a trip.

Day 6


(1) Rotisserie chicken…

And this is where my notes end, because I forgot to list two more things and didn’t have the energy to remind Randy to tell me his three items.

Day 7

We completely missed Day 7.

I noticed several things about our “happy” choices. I don’t like to cook, drive, buy groceries, go to Walmart, or get dressed. Randy would rather stay home than go to work. He seems to enjoy spending time with me, although a lot of our together time was spent eating and watching television. We both enjoy dessert. Randy is much more altruistic than I am, and we both like it when he goes fishing.

With regard to Day 3, Randy and I went to the ALDI grocery store, where shoppers are required to insert a quarter in order to retrieve a grocery cart. As stated, my cart already had a quarter inserted in the slot. With the intention of paying it forward, I left said quarter in the slot after I finished shopping and returned the cart to the kiosk. As Randy and I were driving out of the parking lot, I noticed a man returning his cart, and I saw him glance at my cart, spy the quarter and pocket it. I feel sure, however, that Karma took care of him somehow.

One more thing that really makes me happy this season is that Randy and I have decided—at least for now—to discontinue production of our potpourri products. Instead, Randy will be selling his wooden shelves and stools at Colorfest this year. I’m happy not to have the potpourri mess all over my basement and house. However, I think I’ve traded it for sawdust.

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