THAT'S WHY happy people are my favorite thing. I've always enjoyed being around friendly folks and having a good time with positive friends, but I've realized just how important it really is to notice all of the pure sweetness that even complete strangers can epitomize.
I recently flew home to Michigan - I quit my job in order to pursue other opportunities, but first decided a trip to see my family would be the perfect vacation a girl could ask for. I flew in to Grand Rapids instead of Detroit, which meant that the passengers had to be shuttled to a tiny, baby plane outside of the airport since it was going to a smaller city. Everyone felt squished immediately after entering that fetus of a vessel. Except a fetus is inside someone/something and in this scenario, people were inside of it... so maybe that actually doesn't work. Anyway, you could tell it was a flight that would stress a lot of people out. Then, a frazzled married couple had to practically crawl through the aisle (not exaggerating with the size of this aircraft!) with their two young girls and they had every reason to freak out and show hot tempers, but they made it clear that that was not going to happen. Right from the start, one daughter called out about being thirsty, so her mom opened up their bag to grab a water bottle they just bought, only to discover it had completely leaked and not only was she without a drink to give her child, her clothes inside were fully soaked. When the girl realized what had happened and started to complain, her mom just cheerfully said, "Well, you can suck on my sweater if you want, but that doesn't sound very good!" and her daughter started to laugh. Humor and happiness. She turned to give the girl a container of grapes that they had packed instead, and caught my eye as she was turning and gave the brightest smile - there was no getting this woman down!
My mom and I just stopped by Barnes & Noble to read through about 1,000 magazines, no big deal, and both of us picked up a drink in the cafe while we were there. The two baristas were joking around with each other as we walked up, and then grinned ear to ear to greet us and ask us what we liked to order. So, either they saw something in my teeth and couldn't stop laughing about it, or they were just genuine nice people. I'm certain it's the latter because if I had anything in my teeth (like a piece of lettuce from my turkey reuben from lunch), even I couldn't spot it! When one of them handed us our drinks after making them, she lightheartedly made fun of herself for mispronouncing the type of drink one of them was and then said "Enjoy!" with an earnest boost of energy before finishing cleaning off some of the machines. She wasn't trying to get extra tips or even go above and beyond for attention - she was just NICE and it was impossible not to notice, which was a breath of fresh air.
I feel like I see parents listening to their iPods instead of paying attention to their kid who's trying to get their attention too much in the city, or I hear about nannies who completely raise a couple's child since they're never around. It's a comforting feeling to see awesome parents with their kids. At stores, bars, coffee shops or restaurants, I've found that there are multiple times I feel like the server or person behind the counter is so distracted with problems in their lives that they make me feel like I made a mistake coming in that day - like I was interrupting their life. So often we settle for poor service and poor relationships because that's what we're surrounded by. But that's not something we should have to do.
So happy people? Beware. I'm going to find you and love you and want to squeeze you. I had a grin on my face half the flight to Michigan because while one kid was being loud and saying, "I can get away with anything sitting back here because I'm behind Mommy!" Her mom replied by bringing her hand around and tickling her leg to show her who's boss. I wanted to buy five more coffees at the cafe today just to have another round of good customer service. These are the moments we need to work to create! Life is too short for unhappiness and that's one thing I've definitely learned so far this year. We can't control other people or life itself, but we can control our reactions and the way WE choose to live and communicate with others. And let's face it, when someone is warm and cheery to us, it's SO hard to feel upset about anything. So by being positive, we actually CAN make a difference and that's the easiest and most heartwarming thing I could ever think of. I hope you're all sponges, too, because being happy is something we should be soaking up every day. YES. (Okay, that was unnecessary, but I was on a roll with the caps lock).