I Felt Happy

By Troy Headrick

I hope you’re not expecting anything profound in this piece.  If those are your expectations, you’re likely to be disappointed.  Still, I encourage you to read on.  Some of you might find something of value in this blog.

It’s summertime in Texas.  That means it’s hot.  Quite surprisingly, though, as I stepped outside my front door last night at about 9:30, just to sort of see how things were, I discovered that it was breezy and cool.  Actually, it was lovely.  There was a touch of fall in the air, so I brought a chair outside and sat on the sidewalk in front of the house.

Fifteen or so minutes after I’d taken my seat, the neighbors—the husband and wife who own that large dog a few houses to the west—came down the street with said canine on a leash.  The husband waved at me and said, “Nice tonight.”  I waved back and agreed, and they passed by, got to the intersection, and turned the corner.

My wife and I live in what could be called a “middle-class neighborhood.”  The houses on our street are a combination of one-story and two-story brick affairs.  There’s a very “Americana” feel about where we reside.

Last night, while sitting outside after dark, I heard the neighbor’s wind chimes make sweet night music.  I watched lights blink on and off in houses.  The man who likes to entertain had the doors of his two-car garage open and the television (he keeps a large screen in his garage) was on—by the sound of it, there was a sports event of some sort being televised.  The man who lives across from him crossed the street and sat in one of the lawn chairs the man puts out in an inviting way.  The men began to talk, and from time to time, I could hear them pull tabs on cans of beer.

The leaves in all the trees rustled.  Neighborhood life, in all its various forms, unfolded in front of me.  I felt relaxed enough—I was drinking a beer myself—to inhale deeply and exhale slowly.  I felt happy.  Yes, I distinctly recall feeling what can only be called happiness.  In fact, I said as much, to myself, in a quiet voice, though no one was there to hear me.

When I was a much younger man and my grandfather was alive—I loved him more than words can communicate—the two of us used to sit out in exactly this way when I was visiting him and my grandmother.  The two of them lived outside of town, in the countryside, so we didn’t have all these neighbors to observe. 

I remember that he loved sitting out at night—in exactly the way I did last night—and would always invite me to join him.  Usually, there was little conversation.  We would simply soak the nighttime beauty in.  We would observe the vast, starry sky above, and, when the mood was right, my grandfather would say something like, “Do you see those clouds racing by, across the face of the moon?”

I distinctly recall feeling happy on those nights too. 

If there is a moral to this story, it’s this.  When the night is nice, take a chair outside and sit for a while.  Don’t expect anything extraordinary to happen, but just open up to the experience.  Pay attention and don’t pay attention.  (It’s possible to do both things at the same time.)  If you can pull all this off, I think you’ll feel rewarded.  In fact, you might just experience something that can only be called happiness.

Troy Headrick’s personal blog can be found here.

If you’d like to see some of Troy’s art, have a look.

64 thoughts on “I Felt Happy

      1. I hear you. I fight that struggle every single day. I think it helps that I’m getting older. Age gives one a kind of clarity that youth lacks. So, I think that struggle is getting a bit easier over time.

  1. Troy, thank you for such a beautiful reflective post. I could feel the happiness of your special moment. I too love to sit out and embrace the surroundings, the peace and those moments when that moon just happens to “take your breath away”.

    1. Hi. I think it’s just a matter of slowing down enough to be able to see and hear and absorb what’s going on around us. Once that slow down occurs, it’s easier to breath and feel like things are fine. That’s happiness. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Sitting outside at home on summer evening in Texas is a bit different than sitting outside at home on a summer evening in the Last Frontier Troy . . . a tad cooler with an occasional wolf howli replacing a dog’s barking 😊. However, both imbue one with a subtle soul calming happiness.

    1. I assume you mean Alaska, right? Certainly there is a big difference if that’s what you mean! I’ve lived in cold places too. Places like North Dakota and Poland and even Ankara, Turkey, was cold and got lots of snow. I actually like cold spots. There’s something very clarifying about being out in weather that’s 20 degrees below zero (F). Thanks, Fred D, for the comment.

    1. Summertime is harsh in this part of the US. But the fall, in this area of Texas, is lovely. The sky gets bluer as the days shorten. It may sound corny, but I like the holiday season as well. It’ll be here before you know it. I hope you’re finding good hiking opportunities these days. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Lovely post. I enjoyed reading it 🙂

    The weather has cooled a little bit here too. Even I was thinking of sitting on the balcony for some time at night. But the air quality is not so good here due to wildfire nearby.

    You have written it so beautifully 🙂🤩

    1. You must live in the western part of the US, or do you live elsewhere? I think sitting on the balcony sounds like a fine idea–just let the air clear up some. I want to thank you for the kind words. I wish you lots of wonderfully happy moments.

    1. I’m glad you liked it. I know it’s important to be present in the current moment, but it’s also wonderful to go back in time. We have to revisit those memories to keep them fresh and alive. Thanks so much for reading my piece and leaving such a nice comment.

      1. Agree completely. Thinking of those moments of joy, actually also help us to live happily in the present moment too. Great post.

  4. I can feel the quiet of the night and the gentle breeze on my skin. The feeling is a blissful one. And staring at the night sky with nothing to say but much to wonder is a magical moment. I remember, as a child, sitting outside when the weather permitted it, and looking up at the stars and moon, searching for constellations. Making up stories in my mind as who may be staring back at me.
    Thanks for sharing this, Troy. It’s like a breath of fresh air. 🙂

    1. It’s important to revisit those wonderful moments from bygone times. I want to thank you for sharing your story and for leaving such a nice comment. I always enjoy hearing from you!

  5. I agree! In this self-centred world, we have lost the meaning of actual happiness. We search for it through various mundane means but thoroughly overlook our surroundings, our family, friends, and neighbourhood of course. If we could be able to appreciate what we have we wouldn’t need to have synthetic ways to keep ourselves happy and content. Thank you for this work, kudos!

    1. Yes! Many of us living in many countries of the world have been conditioned to think that happiness comes from the attainment of big achievements or that it can be purchased. In fact, happiness is comparable to contentment or inner peacefulness. If a person is open to experiencing it, it can be experienced at all times and under almost any conditions. Thank you for leaving such a thoughtful comment.

    1. Thank you! I’m so pleased that you liked this piece. I see that you’re a professor. What, if you don’t mind my asking, do you teach? I’ve spent many years in college and university classrooms in the US and abroad.

  6. Can feel the passion in your words! It would be lovely to pay attention but not. To feel cold and hot at the same time. To exist and not at the same time. I’m sure it was a happy, rewarding experience! Going to try this out on a lovely night (if there is ever any, that is)! 😉

    1. Thank you so much for reading this piece and leaving such a nice comment. Please report back on the results after you try this out for yourself. Again, thanks!

  7. That’s an incredible feel good thoughts you have highlighted. You made me visit my nostalgic moments I had with my grandparents. Thank you. 🙂

    1. I was lucky to have had an especially close relationship with my maternal grandparents. I’m glad you had a nice relationship with the parents of your parents too. Thanks for the nice comment.

  8. I live in NW Montana – in a small town at the gates of Glacier National Park. I have only lived in this slice of paradise for 8 years – the prior 40+ in larger cities, including Washington DC. Here, people flock to the wilderness to experience the peace and happiness you describe – this is still new to me. Like you, I remember warm summer evenings in the neighborhood – marveling at an evening garden, overhearing end of day conversations carried on the breeze, feeling the days bustle calm to a steady quiet with the song of crickets and cicadas and night sounds slowly taking over… right there on the front porch. Occasionally sharing the moment with a passing walker or me as the walker greeting someone sitting and enjoying this warm community peace.
    You don’t have to be in the wilds to find beauty. Thank you for this glimpse into your special place in this world.

    1. Yes! I guess there’s some truth to the old saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” It seems to me that if we open our hearts to experiencing beauty, then it can be experienced anywhere. People have a tendency to travel to wonderful places because they’ve grown blind to their own neighborhood and backyard. I’m guilty of that myself. You see, I lived overseas for about twenty years in all sorts of magical places, so when I returned to the US, I felt bored for a long time. I think I’m just now–after six years back in America–giving myself permission to like this place where we live. I was stubborn, but I’m getting past it now. The piece I wrote feels like a breakthrough. I’m finally starting to see loveliness and wonder at home. Thanks so much for leaving such a thoughtful comment.

  9. There really is a touch of fall in the air. The scorching heat has faded. I enjoy going for a walk in breezy evenings these days, and the wind touching my face is nothing but sheer happiness!

    Lovely piece as always!

  10. Thank you for sharing! What a lovely post. My husband and I (and our dog, Lu) live in an apartment and I REALLY look forward to living in an actual neighborhood one day, with sounds of kids laughing and playing down the street, and everything that you just described. I pictured your night, and it was so nice.

    1. Thank you. it was a lovely night and I soaked up the beauty. Good luck on getting out of that apartment. When we moved back to the US, we were apartment dwellers for a time. My wife hated it. Me, I’ve got thick skin. I didn’t love it, but I can do in just about any circumstances. Thanks so much for the comment.

      1. Yeah, I get what you mean. We don’t need much either, we are content here. I just feel like I’m ready to move onto something bigger and better, but I’m sure it will happen in due time.

  11. The night sky is magic! I often go outside and look at the moon and stars. I also like to sit outside and enjoy a chat during the winter nights…a little too buggy here in the summer to do that. 🙂 Have a pleasant evening, Troy!

    1. Hi, Cheryl, it’s good to hear from you. San Antonio is buggy too. That’s why the breeze on the night I wrote about was so welcome. It kept the mosquitoes away! Thanks. I hope things are going well for you!

  12. I love those simple, perfect moments when you just ‘be’ and appreciate the experience for what it is. Taking time out from all the busy stuff and enjoying what you have around you. Beautifully written. 🙂

Leave a Reply