What makes you happy?

What makes you happy? – shot on 5DMKII from Jon Rawlinson on Vimeo.

@thedesignfiles posted a link to one of Jon Rawlinson’s short films, Kuroshio Sea (which is also awesome, check it out) and being the curious cat that I am I clicked onto the next video which posed the question, “What makes you happy?”

A few years ago now, I used to have a VW Beetle, and I would ponder the question of happiness a lot as I drove late at night. Back then, my list of things that made me happy included:

  • A full tank of petrol
  • A full packet of ciggies (sigh, oh the past!)
  • Driving home after a lovely night with my friends
  • Singing songs really loud (my Beetle didn’t have a radio!)
  • Driving the bug

Right now, I have a very bland sort of car and while it’s very reliable and doesn’t strand me on scary motorways in the middle of the night (with no mobile phone credit, I had to flag down a stranger!) it doesn’t really give me any happiness. I absolutely hated breaking down all the time in Poberty Jane (my bug) but driving it was thrilling and engaging. In a new car there doesn’t seem to be any kind of engagement or thrill (unless you buy something really fast, fancy and expensive!)

So, the things that make me happy must surely have shifted. I met and married Nick since those times, and I have embarked on a career as a graphic artist and designer. So let’s revisit the happy list, yeah?

Things that make me happy, 2009

  • Solving a design problem
  • Laughing with my family and friends
  • Emptying my pencil sharpener
  • Absent-minded doodling
  • Stimulating conversation
  • Seeing new places and exploring them by foot (like waterfalls!)
  • Writing something that reflects how I feel as accurately and succinctly as possible
  • Learning new things
  • Collaborating with people
  • Making beautiful food
  • Expressing myself through personal styling (I hate to use the term “fashion” since styling one’s identity extends beyond that!)
  • Meeting people I connect with
  • Cracking jokes that people laugh at

I guess I could go on and on… and I feel pretty grateful for that! What makes you happy?


  1. At the moment it is all kid related;

    – Seeing out boy Travis smile
    – Seeing Travis when I wake up
    – Seeing Travis when I get home from work

    I could go on…..

    Some other times it's all of that, plus;

    – Seeing my wife
    – Playing with the dog
    – Catching up with family
    – Sitting on the back veranda at the inlaws farm outside of Gloucester
    – Playing well at golf
    – Having dinner at the golf club and then winning a meat tray in the raffles

    I think in a lot of ways things are getting simpler, and I think that's starting to shape my blogging, photography, and the rest of my life in general….


  2. I totally get the empyting the pencil sharpener one! And collaborating and creating. :)
    – @beaney

  3. Pencil sharpener cracks me up – true and beautiful. The video was lovely – I like seeing just (extra)ordinary people, but I got a bit teary-eyed at one point.

    Singing at the top of my voice to good driving songs.
    Dancing to Footloose.
    Reading a favourite book to a friend.
    A room full of people all reading or drawing quietly.
    Living under the Archerfield flight path (seriously).
    Art deco illustration.
    Colours working.
    Mock orange flowers.

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