It was an oblong smothered in newspaper (Mum is fantastic at many, many things, but gift wrapping is not one of them).
I picked up the parcel, held it to my face and inhaled. The smell of fresh pine hit my olfactory nerves. This, along with the clink clink sound when I shook it, led me to hope with a desperate fervour that inside the yellowed newspaper was indeed the box I had begged Mum and Dad for.
“Can I open it?”
Dad nodded his acquiescence.
I tore it open.
And there before me sat a polished mahogany box with DERWENT brandished across the top in gold.
Like Pandora’s box (but this time with a happier ending).
I lifted the two brass clasps; diametrically opposed.
What I saw inside made me gasp.
72 brand new unsharpened Derwent artist pencils, lined up like soldiers for battle. Dressed in black with splashes of colour for their feet.
Magenta, a mauvish-crimson-fuschia blend, perfect for drawing the love hearts that signified my 3rd grade crush.
Jade green, like the clear green pieces of glass washed up on the beach, the edges softened by the sand.
Aquamarine, a blue so intense and tumultuous that just one small drag of it across the paper could make you feel like you were drowning.
I was ecstatic.
It’s a good memory, this one.
I wrote about it one morning last week, as part of the writing practise I’ve been doing for the past year.
Every day I try to sit down and write for 20 minutes. I’ll write about whatever memory or thought or experience comes to mind. The aim of the game is to wiggle as deep into the detail as possible. I try to get really specific.
Maybe you’ve noticed the shift in my writing style as a result?
It’s made me more observant.
And it’s training me to become a collector, nay, a connoisseur of happy moments.
The stuff I call ‘happy tokens’.
Like the way Hakavai creases his brow moments before attempting to eat a French daisy. Or the buttery ripples unfurling in each bite of the croissant I ate for breakfast today (as delicious as the one I had yesterday, and the day before).
I reckon you should try it too.
Why? Because, by actively seeking out the happy tokens in your day, you’re rewiring your brain to focus on the positives in your life, rather than the negatives.
It’s a perspective shift.
And I think that’s something we all need from time to time.
So, your task for the day:
Find a happy token and share it with me.
Maybe it’s your favourite song playing in the supermarket late at night, maybe it was getting a whole seat to yourself on the train, maybe it was having an extra ten minutes to drink your coffee in peace this morning!
Whatever it is, I wanna hear about it.
Jump on to my latest Instagram post and share it with me in the comments. And remember, be as detailed as you can. Really sink into the specifics!
Happy seeking! (literally haha!)
PS – I talk about happy tokens inside my book for teens, Good Selfie. I think the sooner kids learn about these little tools to shift their perspective and build a strong mindset, the better. If you want to check it out, take a look here. I’ve also released it again as an eBook for those who, like me, prefer to travel with 1,000 books at once!