50 things that make me happy

9 minutes estimated reading time

Pat Law published her list of 50 things that make her happy, which reminded me of a list I made back in November 2008 on things that made my day. Why 50 tings that make me happy?  The 50 is a challenge and a limitation in the writing of this post. Like Pat, I am not from Bhutan and maybe the wrong person to write about happiness, but what the heck. So this is where I started in coming up with my 50 things in no particular order:

  1. When someone gives their seat up on the tube for an elderly person or pregnant woman. Its a nice reminder that although civic society is on its knees, it isn’t dead yet. Saying that I once offered to give up my seat and the woman attempted to hit me, it seems she was just fat rather than pregnant – but don’t let that put you off being civic-minded
  2. Hallowe’en. Hallowe’en is my favourite holiday of the year. Its celebration doesn’t start in August like Christmas does in most supermarkets, it finishes the following day. It’s has the kitsch of Christmas trappings, but without the expense. Oh and settling down with a bag of popcorn to watch The Exorcist and The Crow is more fun to watch than an epsiode from the James Bond movie franchise and White Christmas
  3. A sunny spring day on Thurstaston Hill. Spring on the Wirral has an immense sense of energy, a sunny day lying on Thor’s Stone watching the clouds coming in from Liverpool Bay like a candy floss armada sailing over the Wirral
  4. Knowing that I love and am loved
  5. Getting to watch St Helens Saints winning games. Rugby league was once described by an Australian writer as a working-class opera and St Helens have been one of the most successful teams in recent years. I only really gained an appreciation of rugby league during my time at college in Huddersfield. Despite the poor performance of the Huddersfield Giants, the town had league in its bones – The George Hotel by the train station being the birthplace of rugby league. Unfortunately I don’t get to see them as much as I would like and the sport still doesn’t get the coverage that it deserves on television
  6. Fly New Balance kicks, my current favourites are the MT580 which I have in various colour-ways
  7. Stussy tops and my US naval aviator jacket
  8. Flying business-class with Cathay Pacific – they won’t go on strike, the food is decent and there is bound to be a couple of films on the entertainment system that I haven’t seen and are worth watching
  9. My MacBook Pro
  10. My iPhone once I discovered the Mophie Juice Pack
  11. Getting to put on my favourite flannel shirt. This shirt is an old workshirt from back when I worked in the oil industry that has been washed a huge number of times, making it unbelievably soft and giving it a faded check pattern that would be at home on My Name Is Earl. After putting this on, you can understand why grunge took off as a style – I know that my Australian colleague Nick Osborne thinks that this is a classic Bogan-style
  12. Getting to watch For A Few Dollars More. No matter how many times I see this film it still gives me an immense amount of pleasure to watch it. It is not as grand as Once Upon A Time In The West and not as well known as The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, but it has probably the best performances of Lee Van Cleef and Clint Eastwood together on screen
  13. Watching pretty much any Wong Kar-wai film, but I have a particular soft spot for 2046 and In The Mood for Love
  14. Getting some time on my decks. Whilst many DJs have moved on to MP3s and CD players there is nothing quite like the tactile experience of mixing with vinyl records. Being able to read the track by the changes in the grooves, the sensation of low frequency sounds and the feel of cueing a heavy vinyl platter are unique
  15. Eating a slice of freshly cooked soda bread. Unlike yeast bread, I prefer to let the soda bread cool properly first and then tuck in.There is something about the whole tactile experience of eating soda bread with a thin scrape of butter and honey or as a side to some Galtee black pudding and white pudding
  16. A warm autumn day with haze so thick you can smell it
  17. Looking out on Victoria Harbour from the Harbour City branch of Starbucks
  18. My Cuisinart coffee machine in action
  19. Motorway driving at night with The Orb’s Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld or The KLF’s Chillout album on the stereo
  20. Finding myself in an airport on the far side of the world and being able to find a good newspaper stall, and have the time to sit down and read a copy of the Irish Independent or The Examiner
  21. Wondering around the Science Museum with my Dad and have him tell me about the different equipment in there and the machines that he has come across in his 50 or so years in engineering from lorry engines, to ships pumps and industrial motors
  22. Pottering around Gosh Comics and discovering a new graphic novel author. Forbidden Planet feels too much like a supermarket in many ways, whereas Gosh feels like the independent vinyl record shops that are rapidly disappearing from Soho
  23. Watching a good film in a decent cinema, despite all the technology there is still nothing quite the big screen. I love the passive entertainment of the cinema – very un-tech of me I know, but its true
  24. Waking up on a Sunday morning and hearing it raining outside whilst I am tucked up in bed
  25. Taking time out to listen to Sunday Miscellany
  26. The mid point in 50 things that make me happy: Hong Kong-style milk tea though its pretty hard to track down a good cup even in Chinatown, London. Caffiene and condensed milk mean that all the main food groups are covered
  27. Eating with friends in the Tsui Wah restaurant chain
  28. The smell of a turf fire
  29. Getting a new watch
  30. Taking a really great picture, mainly because it’s due to serendipity rather than any skill on my part
  31. Buying vinyl records, I love rifling through the trays at Phonica in Soho, it breaks my heart that great shops with knowledgeable shop assistants like Anthony Cox at the former Flying Records in Soho have been replaced by vegan fast food joints, wine bars and hedge funds
  32. Tripped out visuals like SIGGRAPH CGI shorts
  33. Reading the print editions of Wired (US edition) and Monocle magazines
  34. Shopping at a 7-Eleven in East Asia when the jetlag won’t let me get to sleep – its something about the colourful packaging design, retina-toasting lighting and junk food that they sell which fits in with the disconnectedness I feel
  35. The half-awake feeling you have when your duvet feels like you are wrapped in cotton wool
  36. Walking around Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. Its a weird mix of space station and holy place. The light through the stained glass is spectacular
  37. Touch typing on a decent keyboard. How people are supposed to cope with the modern rubbery keys on Apple’s defaults keyboards now I have no idea. How the hell does a keyboard make you happy? I feel at one with the machine, I become less conscious of my own typing. The same goes for using a Kensington Expert Mouse rather than a conventional ‘hockey puck’ or trackpad
  38. Enjoying a modern art exhibition with someone knowledgeable so that you can discuss what you’ve seen
  39. Oil refineries at night, they way they are lit up like fallen down Christmas trees. I love asian cityscapes like Hong Kong island and Tokyo for the information overload and the intricate lights
  40. Going to sleep to the sound of a washing machine, sends me straight off, the white noise seems to give me interesting dreams as well. No idea why
  41. The night sky on  a clear summer night at my uncle’s farm so I can see the delicate star structures
  42. The feeling of smugness that I get after I have cleaned the house from top-to-bottom
  43. Buried in a good book whether its Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, a business book, graphic novel or an old counterculture text
  44. Sitting on my sofa and doing nothing after I have come in from a great night out. I tend to enjoy warehouse and squat parties now more than clubs in London at the moment. Think its the music and the vibe
  45. Finding a really great piece of design, whether its a cool piece of software, website, my Mystery Ranch backpack or accessible product design (like the Red Bull ring-pull with the bull cut out)
  46. Finishing a blog post, particularly if I have been using the post to think a concept out fully. I will often mind-map it in my moleskine as well
  47. Seeing my ideas make a difference, whether its to a clients business, changing the outlook of a course or conference attendee or having someone come up and discuss something articulated on here
  48. Winning an eBay auction, paying less than I had intended to
  49. Going to a really good thought provoking event like LIFT or some of the Barcamps
  50. This has felt like a marathon of a post! The final item in my 50 things that make me happy: when I interact with a bureaucracy and things turn out alright with little-to-no effort

You’ve heard about the 50 things that make me happy, what would be the 50 things that make you happy?