The happiest moments in our lives deserve more than a cursory nod (or exhausting celebration) once a year. I suggest that pausing for just a moment, every day, to remember the joy associated with these events, is a way to have a happier life. To that end, my cell phone sends me a little musical message four times a day (a.k.a. an alarm goes off).
Each morning at 10:28 I am reminded that this was the moment that my wonderful little boy Lyle was born. To be clear, my phone chimes at 10:28 everyday, 365 days a year, not just on the day of his birth. Everyday my heart takes a moment to swell with the love I have for this great kid of mine. I literally stop what I am doing and conjure up a memory of Lyle. Five seconds later I return to what I was doing with a glow in my heart.
In the middle of each afternoon, I am reminded of the moment of our wedding. I hear the chiming and take just a moment to mentally step away from my busy day to visualize something from the wedding and to remember how joyful I felt. It is a moment each afternoon when I remind myself of the deep gratitude I feel for my husband and for life having given me a second chance at love. The message that things will change–to persevere even through the darkest of times, is a powerful one. I am glad for the daily reminder.
Every day as the afternoon draws to an end, at 4:48, it is time to remember the birth of my sweet daughter Hillary. I decide, the moment I hear the music, to consciously stop and think of that happy event when I first became a mommy and how much joy she has brought to my life. I take a moment to honor motherhood, my own, my mom’s and the mother my daughter will one day become.
The final reminder comes each evening, just about the time I slip into my nightly bubble bath. At 7:45 my phone reminds me of the birth of my last child. I pause to think of the happiness Darren brings me today and of the wonder and awe I felt when he arrived. Bath time is also a wonderful time to soak in the many, many reason you have to be happy.
My cell phone reminds me to do just that. Maybe you think you’ve had one of those days where there is nothing about which even the Pollyana-est among us could be glad. How about hot water? I keep hot water like an ace up my sleeve-something to be thankful for on the crappy days. I am always thankful to live in a time and a place where hot water is a part of my life.
Some times I get into having a theme for when the alarms sound: think of a birthday party, remember a Halloween costume, conjure up a picture of their sweet sleeping face, marvel once more over a special achievement, think of a time they blew me away with their coolness, or their goofiness, or their generous spirits, . .
One of the cooler byproducts of this practice is the fun of explaining it to people who are present when one of my alarms sounds. I’ve done this at the bank, at a museum, in a parking lot, in a public restroom.
Luckily there are curious, cool strangers everywhere we go! Without exception people are charmed by the idea and able to quickly tell me the alarms they are going to set. I share with them what I just thought about. Then I invite them to share with me whom and what they’ll be thinking about when their own cell phone pulls them out of their head and asks them to look into their heart. I have had the privilege of hearing some of the dearest anecdotes from people who minutes before were strangers. I always thank them for that gift.
I hope this inspires you to take out your cell phone and program in some alarms to mark the Smiley-est moments of your life.
It is a simple joy. Joy usually is.
Smile. Be Happy.
P.S.: If a special moment occurred in the wee hours, just add 12 hours and remember that moment at a time that falls when you are awake.