365 days of happiness: day 365

This:

I originally posted this photo on May 6, 2013. It was a Monday evening, like today, and I was sitting out on my parents’ deck, watching the birds with my dad. It was three days after I graduated college, the day before I started my new job, and my first day in this yearlong blogging adventure.

As I look at this picture and think back over the last 365 days, all I can think is this: how on earth did one year fly by so quickly?

This year, I started my first full-time job, bought a car, moved to an apartment in Royal Oak, and became an aunt. I went running a lot, spent many nights in reading or watching Friends, gushed about my love for snow and nature, and took too many pictures of my food. I spent many weekends at Rondeau, visited friends in East Lansing and Grand Rapids, ran a 5-mile race in Baltimore that ended in wine and soup, and took more trips to Wisconsin than anyone would think is possible. I rarely blogged about this, but there were plenty of days where I felt lonely, I felt frustrated, and I felt scared and unsure about my future.

But above all else, I felt happy.

In the months leading up to graduation, all I could think about was what I was leaving behind when I crossed that stage at the Breslin Center. I thought about my friends, my sorority, my internships, and that campus that I love so much. I tried not to think about what came after, because I didn’t know what would come after; it was just this foggy abyss, with no clear direction and no end date. Finding a small piece of happiness every day this year kept me from getting lost in that abyss; it was the rope guiding me through the fog, even if I didn’t know where it was taking me.

So, today’s happiness is this: I made it! I came out of my first year in the real world with my sanity in check. And to all of you 2014 grads, know this: you will, too. 

365 days of happiness: day 364

This:

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This evening, I sat on the balcony and drank a glass of chocolate milk while T ate her dinner. It was chilly, so I was wrapped up in one of my favorite blankets. As I sat and listened to the birds sing, I felt this enormous sense of contentment wash over me.

This yearlong blogging adventure (which ends tomorrow—holy cow!) has taught me that most happiness can be found in small, seemingly insignificant moments, like sitting on a balcony listening to birds sing. It’s those moments, not the grandiose gestures that happen once in a long while, that keep us going and make life worth living. The moment I began realizing that, my life became a whole lot sweeter.

365 days of happiness: day 362

This:

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Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Today, I smelled freshly mowed grass for the first time since winter – that fresh, sweet smell that you don’t realize you miss until it’s finally back again.

And boy, did I miss it.

The smell lingered in my car even after I had passed the landscaping crew, and I kept breathing deeply to try to soak in as much of that sweet scent as I could. It was fleeting, only lasting a moment, but it put a smile on my face for the rest of my drive home.

365 days of happiness: day 361

This:

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Dear recent college grads,

I don’t have much good advice for you. It’s been about a year since I finished my last final and walked across the stage at the Breslin Center in my cap and gown, and I still feel like I’m struggling to figure this whole real world thing out. I can tell you that lunch breaks are vital and it might take you a while to find your groove in your first real job, but I think the most important takeaway from my first year out of college is this: You can do anything with a good roommate by your side.

T is my rock; my support system; my venting soundboard. I don’t know what I would’ve done this year without her, and I don’t think I’ve told her that enough. So while today’s happiness was the little note she left on my dresser while I was at dinner, it’s really more than that. Today, I am happy because I’m so lucky to have her as a roommate and friend.

Thank you, T.

365 days of happiness: day 360

This:

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Ernie’s Market in Oak Park is always the best choice for dinner. These sandwiches are huge, inexpensive (no joke, I paid $3.18 for that monster), and made with love. Ernie’s has been voted the best sandwich shop in Detroit every year since 2008, and it’s no surprise—between Ernie’s friendly and funny attitude and the delicious mega-sandwiches, it’s hard to find a reason not to love Ernie’s.

365 days of happiness: day 354-359

Day 354—This:

When in doubt, I can always count on music to make me happy.

Day 355–This:

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On Friday, my parents and I hit the road to go visit K, E and Baby L in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. It was a long drive, but those drives are always worth it.

Day 356–This:

Saturday was spent walking through downtown Oconomowoc with my parents, K, E and Baby L. It was a warm, sunny day–perfect for pushing a stroller downtown. Guys, I love being an aunt.

Day 357–This:

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Remember how J and I made beer a couple of weeks ago? It was finally done fermenting, so we bottled it Sunday night. I can’t wait to try it when it’s done carbonating in a couple of weeks!

Day 358–This:

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Yesterday was my big brother’s 30th birthday. On the outside, my brother seems pretty quiet and reserved–most likely because he can’t talk over his three loud-mouth sisters–but when you crack his shell, J is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. I’m so happy I got to spend his birthday with him.

Day 359–This:

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Today was rough, but at least I had a good dinner to make me happy.