What does it take to make us happy?

The prospect of a 9-5 day at uni, particularly on a Friday, is enough to induce a groan from even the most dedicated students. Flat in a state, with dishes piled to high heaven, I left for home, suitcase in tow and stuffed like a turkey with a week’s worth of washing served alongside a very optimistic helping of books. The ominous yellow “danger” tape plastered across the lift door in the station did nothing to heighten my mood. Just my luck. To my surprise, no amount of huffing and puffing blew the lift doors open. Incapable of heaving the suitcase down the stairs (I’m no big strong wolf), I dragged it down.

Bump. Bump. Bump. Crack.

A wheel dislodged and rolled away, or rather fled, eager to escape my wrath. I hobbled the suitcase lamely around the corner, just in time to see my train doors shut. The world was mocking me. It’s karma for the sweet wrapper I surreptitiously let flutter out of my hand earlier on in the day, I’m sure of it.

…my journey home seems to paint all of the colours London Underground has to offer…

A very long 8 minutes later, I squeezed and shuffled my way on the train, sardined between a pram whose sole occupier, had without a doubt, left his mummy a present in his nappy, and the BFG. Unless I’m lucky enough to catch the elusive pink line, as I call it, my journey home seems to paint all of the colours London Underground has to offer. On this particular Friday, my mood, which had now taken on a deflated air, particularly in view of a work-filled weekend, accepted the cumbersome journey home. And it was rewarded.

Much like gold at the end of a rainbow, the end of the escalators introduced me the upbeat tune of Aloe Black’s, “i need a dollar,” cleverly adapted by a rather talented busker and his cute, beat keeping friend. If there’s one thing I love about London, it’s the buskers: they never fail to put a smile on my face, even when I’m in the foulest of moods. I wasn’t the only one either. A camera carrying tourist stood filming the artists for a good few minutes and a toddler waddled around, flapping his arms and bopping his head in appreciation. The beat keeping busker was yummy, practically edible, and flashed a dimpled smile as I left some coins; a small price to pay for a mood change that even the gigantic overpriced bar of chocolate I’d treated myself to had failed to induce. Much to my pleasure, they began a rendition of the Postman Pat theme tune to accompany the toddler’s dance. I was hit simultaneously by a wave of nostalgia and compressed air as the train pulled into the platform. I hauled my suitcase on with a smile. Not even the sweaty armpit in my face could wipe that away.

…the comforting warmth of a mug of hot Ribena…

In a few minutes, the sulky pout I’d worn had transformed into a genuine bubble of contentment. How odd that something so seemingly trivial could have such a profound impact. I compare it to opening a pack of fruit pastilles and finding a red one at the top, or the musty smell when you open an old book and the comforting warmth of a mug of hot Ribena. Others find it on the cold side of the pillow, or the crunch of autumn leaves underfoot.

We’re all caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. Television and movies teach us to aim sky high to find happiness; to have thriving careers, to be on trend with the latest cars/clothes/holiday destinations, to seek our soul mates. We sometimes try so hard to obtain the things we think will eventually make us happy that we forget to acknowledge the simple pleasures, like the ones standing on the platform singing your favourite childhood tune. Sometimes in order to get the most out of life, you need to take indulgence in the little everyday things that make you smile. Screw the bigger picture and focus on the pixels that form it. Live each day as if it’s your last, after all (cue super cheesy but true cliché), you only live once.


About The Author

Modern languages student at UCL with an interest in art, journalism, food and a desire to travel the world.

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