If this isn’t nice, what is?

Hi. How are you all holding on out there?

To quench your thirst for golden nuggets of wisdom about life, and in anticipation of new Happysad cartoons, I’d like to share a quote with you. It comes from the book I’m reading, Timequake, by Kurt Vonnegut.

[Uncle Alex Vonnegut] said that when things were really going well we should be sure to notice it. He was talking about simple occasions, not great victories: maybe drinking lemonade on a hot afternoon in the shade, or smelling the aroma of a nearby bakery, or fishing and not caring if we catch anything or not, or hearing somebody all alone playing a piano really well in the house next door. Uncle Alex urged me to say this out loud during such epiphanies: “If this isn’t nice, what is?”

It just so happened I read this bit in the most perfect of circumstances. It was a calm, sunny Sunday afternoon. I had just been raking leaves in MY garden and cleaning up a bit in MY house. I put some music on, fixed myself a drink and sat down in my comfy chair, while the sun beamed down on me through the skylight. And then I read that paragraph, and it all made so much sense to me. If this isn’t nice, what is?

Sure life can be a bitch sometimes. But as that other (more famous) quote says: “Happiness makes up in height what it lacks in length”. And to finally quote myself: I’m not always sad and miserable, you know :-)

11 thoughts on “If this isn’t nice, what is?

  1. I don’t think one can run out of little things to enjoy. But one can be so preoccupied with negative thoughts that he is unable to notice or appreciate them. And that’s the reason why you have to speak out loud every time you notice them, make a big deal about them. Every time you say it out loud you train yourself to notice them and you won’t let them run by you the way you used to. The trick of having a good life is to praise the good things not moan on the bad things.

  2. Ok, you are both right. But – you know it’s like somebody wants to have hug, and fells alone, and then the other day someone is cheering this person saying “but you have a lot of friends” you want to answer:”Yes, but I wish that all of my friends transformed for someone who be only for me”. And this is with this little things – we are happy about them sometimes but a little nasty voice in our head suggests:”Oh, many happy little things, could join and be a big dream coming true”… But its’t only then when we are fed up with our routine…it’s when “my problem is not having problems at all”.

    PS: but I’m not always miserable as well.

  3. I think what you’re all saying is very true. In fact, it’s THE TRUTH about life. I could be miserable every single morning from having to get up abominably early BUT FOR ONE TINY DETAIL… namely for the beautiful sunrise which I have the undoubted pleasure of watching on my way to work. :) a great big red ball on the horizon – that’s when it’s a bit cloudy – or a warm sparkling and dazzling light in the blue sky when – it’s clear… Could I ask for a better reason to get up every morning ? Even if it’s just for 15 minutes that I’m witnessing this little miracle ?
    :D

  4. This is such a lovely though you are sharing :]
    Life sure is a bitch, but also so marvelous, but sometimes we dont see it [or not want to].
    I think im not that sad and miserable all the time too!

  5. @Peter.
    I don’t think it’s possible to run out of the little things, because there are so many :)

    Just yesterday I lay on the grass, Glosoli playing in my ears. I looked at the shades of grey in the sky and felt the breeze on my face. It started to rain, and I watched as the tiny light raindrops floated down toward me. I almost felt like I was flying.

    It was so beautiful.

  6. Thanks for this post, Jeroen. It got me thinking.

    I hate waking up every morning in a this weird, foreign country. I’m depressed every morning.
    But then I get out and see the blue-est sky ever, feel this relaxing silence and the order here… I feel good and grateful for getting here. All because of the beautiful sky…

    It’s easy to feel nice about smth, happiness is a bit harder to acquire…

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