How To Be Happy: Enjoy Simplicity

I think of the movie “Up”, where Mr. Frederickson had promised his wife Ellie that he would take her to Paradise Falls so that she could fill her Adventure Book. It was a scrap book that she filled with pictures of things that she had collected when she was small. There was a section of her book that she left empty called “Stuff I’m Going To Do.” In it, Ellie was determined to post every adventure that she was going to have when she got older.

Unfortunately, Ellie gets ill and passes away before she got to make the trip with her beloved husband. Poor Carl was eaten up by guilt because he felt that he had failed his lovely wife.

He concocts a plan to fly his house to Paradise Falls. When he gets there, there’s a scene where he goes into the house and everything is all over the place. He cleans it up, and sits his and Ellie’s chairs back where they had always been. The Adventure Book caught his eye, and he picks it up. This was the last thing Ellie had given to him before she passed… but he had never looked past the “Stuff I’m Going To Do” page. This time, he was going to do it.

He sighed a big sigh and tried fighting tears, afraid that he would find the pages empty. As he went to see behind it, the corner flipped up, and he saw the corner of a picture. Intrigued and surprised, he immediately flipped the page over. What he discovered surprised him.

On that first page after the title was a picture of them on their wedding day. He flipped another page, and there they were again, dancing in the yard. Then there was another picture of them riding in a car, and yet another of them having their ritual picnic together. Page after page was flooded with those memories created by him and his beloved. He got to the last page, which showed his lovely Ellie sitting in what was her chair, which was beside his. He was sitting in his chair also, and they were holding hands. Below the picture were these words: “Thanks for the adventure. Now go have a new one! Love, Ellie.”

What Ellie had done was embraced what most would consider mundane. Carl thought he had to do something extravagant to help her fill that adventure book. In reality, it was the things that most people would think are boring, maybe even trite, that Ellie considered to be adventures. Enjoying simplicity requires a certain way of thinking. Ellie had that. She somehow knew that experiencing life was an adventure, no matter where it was you found yourself.

So, choose to look at the simple things that you do differently. When you read your paper or drink your coffee before work, if you ritually go to the gym after the daily grind or go to your local coffeeshop to unwind, or if you sit in your jams in your house with a good book and a cup of tea… relish those moments! It mightn’t seem exciting to someone else that you have a habit of watching The Golden Girls at midnight with a hot chocolate and a small bowl of popcorn, but that one little thing that you look forward to might excite you. Do that, no matter what anyone says! You can get more of those moments than the really huge ones, so collect those simple pleasures that life throws at you.

Russell from the movie said it best: “I know it sounds boring, but I think it’s the boring stuff that I remember the most.”

Enjoy your “boring” moments; there’s much beauty in them.

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