The Nostalgic Feel Good Factor: Things That Make Me Happy

Things That Make Me Happy

Several things contribute to feeling good and feeling happy about myself and life.

As a creative, music, paintings and old clothes are ways to feel part of a context and sense of belonging. They make me happy and allow me to express myself.

The other day, after I’d completed another chapter of my up and coming novel, a friend I’ve kept in touch with since university, called and invited me round for fika.

We were reminiscing about the fashion, places and music we used to love when my friend’s daughter reminded us Julio Iglesias songs featured a lotin our lives over the years. It made my friend’s eyes light up at the memory of the old songs she’d listened and danced to while busy doing other things around the house.

After having fika with another friend in Malmö’s pedestrian walk, we were on our way home when passing a vintage clothes shop’s fabulous window display. Mainly 80s Pucci and other brands that were the rave then. Viewing the lovely prints and entering the tiny boutique, it took hardly any time to discover a printed dress my mother used to wear when my parents threw parties for family and friends. The swirly cobalt blue and emerald green print immediately transported me back to that period of time, music and food. It even made me wonder where the dress was, or if by mistake I’d got rid of it while clearing out my parental home years ago.
To find an exact replica of the dress my mother used to wear years ago felt quite nostalgic.

Eager to find out whether I’d held on to it among all the other lovely dresses, bags and belts I’d put aside in a separate closet, I persuaded my friend to join me in searching for it. Hours later, close to midnight, we discovered the dress in a bottom drawer, tucked away beneath other items of clothing. If it wasn’t for that vintage shop I’d probably not have bothered to dig it out, much less remembered it.

Inspired by my friend’s suggestion I wear it at a wedding reception in the country the following week, I went to great lengths to match it with a few pieces of jewellery just like my mother did before me. For someone who rarely knows what to wear at a party, that dress fulfilled everything I could ever have imagined. Watching my own reflection in the mirror I felt as if my mother was staring back at me, apart from the fact she was taller and wore different makeup and shoes.

I wish my mother could have seen me that day. Significantly, wearing her favourite dress made me feel close to her, just like it feels wearing her jewellery.

I don’t recall too many details of that day except how much I enjoyed the party and celebration. But what stands out in my mind is how good it felt to wear my mother’s old dress. A genuine feel good factor that instantly brought me back to a lovely time and past. It made me happy. Since that party I’ve started to wear her dresses and other items of clothing. It makes me feel close to her and warm inside.

I feel much the same when re decorating and furnishing my home in Malmö. My problem is that I’m a hoarder and can’t bear to throw out old things that remind me of another place and time. Mixing old with new work really well. As an author I like nothing better than to work on my manuscripts at the rustic kitchen table surrounded by a mix of chairs, soft cushions and country inspired large cupboards with glass doors exhibiting old China and porcelain.

Putting up old and new framed pictures and paintings on the walls, I knew something was missing yet couldn’t recall what it was until I passed a store selling old lithographs and paintings. It took me less than ten minutes to find what was missing on my walls. My father used to love and buy art work in an old art gallery owned by one of his closest friends. In particular, paintings by a renowned Swedish painter whose love of the female body was featured in all the art work. The painting I was looking for yet couldn’t recall in detail was there in that shop. I’d spent years wondering where it was and somehow fate steered me in the right direction.

As soon as I saw it a flood of memories overwhelmed me. I had to buy it there and then or risk losing it to someone else, someone who most likely didn’t have the deep connection I have with that painting. Slightly stained at the corners, fading colours and a frame that required to be restored I pulled it out from the other paintings in a corner of the room and carried it to the front of the store and till. Astounded at how cheap it was, I paid the owner and walked out of there, thinking I was the luckiest person alive. That painting is hanging on a wall and each time
I pass it I feel happy and warm inside. Just like the time I wore my mother’s dress at that party. She used to say wearing the clothes we enjoy and surrounding ourselves with what pleases us matter much more than saving it for a special day.

What’s your feel good factor? What makes you happy? Perhaps photos of loved ones, memory boxes and special items you just can’t bear the thought of getting rid of? Whatever is special to you is worth holding on to. Sometimes all we need to feel good about ourselves is already there in some old cupboard or drawer, tucked away but never really forgotten. All it takes is to dig them out and enjoy the special connection and feelings of love and joy.

Enjoy your feel good factors wherever you are.
Hélene x

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