Posted by: Jae | June 15, 2007

Channeling the Happiness Notebook

In high school, sometime during third year, a small group of bright sunshine-y girls started the Happiness Notebook. It started as something to keep us from falling asleep during Trigo, and then morphed into something that I suppose really captured what it was to be a fumbling wide-eyed adolescent in the mid-90s, wearing both starch-white ruffles and your heart on your sleeve, discovering for the first time that infinite possibilities of the world (and the body 🙂 ), getting silly and giddy and giggly the way fifteen-year-olds are supposed to be. We called it the “Happiness Notebook” because we wrote there stuff that made us happy. They weren’t big things, certainly. It was happiness according to how we defined it — and we defined it according to the standards of the simpler, gentler world we belonged to. Like getting our crushes to take us to the prom. Or defeating Assumption in an inter-school debate. Or sneaking alcohol inside our Coleman jugs and making like sophisticated blase college students despite the dorky blue jumper and the ruffled blouse. Or getting into long giggling fits any given time of the day, for the flimsiest of reasons.

I recount this because this week I feel the need to channel the happiness notebook, and how it seemed to have made everything possible and everyone freer and braver and more invincible. I’m about to leave a job I truly love and plunge into a new endeavor. I feel excited about it, but like all life-changes, it scares me. Had a fight with someone I had grown to be truly fond of, characterized by angry and heated exchanges of text messages and disorienting me in a way that I could not have expected. Still sad about election results. Lost my pink swiss knife (super cool, because it has a mirror, a small vial of lip and cheek tint, a nail file, needle and thread, and a tiny pink flashlight among other stuff). Was manipulated into getting a hair detox and paying an obscene amount of money only to have my hair up even more sunog and brittle than it already was. Had a hearing yesterday and forgot to wear shoes (so naka tsinelas ako sa Quezon City Hall of Justice).

Hence to counter that string of “bad tidings”, here are ten happy things that happened in my universe this week, small and big, not in order of importance:

1. Went ukayukay shopping and with P800, I was able to buy three dresses, four skirts, four blouses, and the hottest slinkiest skankiest come-hither cocktail dress EVER.

2. Had free pancit with Ning last Wednesday. Free food is good. Always.

3. Iona is in love.Yippee. Love is good. Always. Well, not always. But in this case it is. Hehe.

4. Watched Ocean’s Thirteen. Two words: George Clooney. That’s why I can never completely give up older men. *grin*

5. They didn’t cheat Trillanes. Congratulations, Mr. Senator.

6. I’m going to go to Vietnam next week with Rachel and see Jordan. Too bad we don’t have time to got to Cambodia anymore.

7. Reports have it that Edong (“Cry the Beloved Country(side)”) wants to come back. If this were really true– as I have yet to speak to him in person — it would be enough good news to make up for one month’s worth of bad tidings.

8 . Jeremy’s coming home to Manila for a vacation. Yay.

9. Someone texted me asking if she could order my chicken liver pate and do I do goose liver? Naks. Kitchen goddess.

10. I’m moving on. Slowly and surely, I am. 🙂

So I read the list once more, and realize, it’s not such a bad list. It’s true what they say, after all. Count your blessings. Say thank you. And realize that maybe, you’re not getting as bad a deal as you thought.


  1. Oh those were the days and they were so simple…But in some ways it feels good to be where we are now right?

    The happiness notebook is still lost and we suspect it fell into the wrong hands of a certain someone we will not name but talk about again once u get here. Haha.

    You think we all have some sunshine left to make a happiness notebook – blog version? 🙂 i can gather all the usual suspects…

  2. Let’s talk about it when I get there. Great to be reminded that the things that matter remain intact.

  3. “moving on. Slowly but surely”.

    Failed again so just leave me alone
    Define, define, define
    Failed again so just leave me alone
    Define, define, define

    I’ve heard it all before
    I’ve seen this ship a thousand times
    Oh, I’ve seen it all before
    It’s tall and harder when they fall

    Say hello, it’s me, let’s go
    I’m thinking your thoughts and you’re thinkin’ mine
    Oh, it’s you, hello, let’s go
    I’ve tried so hard but again I

    Touch me, baby, I’ll take you home
    I know a friend, I know a friend
    Touch me, baby, I’ll take you home
    Define, define, define

    I’ve heard it all before
    I’ve seen this ship a million times
    Oh, I’ve seen it all before
    It’s tall and harder when they fall

    Define, define, define


  4. emman, bakit wala kang tula para sa “congratulations, mr. senator”. hehehe.

  5. natatakot na kasi ako para sa kanya. la lang taas ng expectations ng mga tao eh. sana hindi mabigo.

  6. Malungkot ba itong si Violent Dispersal. Parang laging galit sa mundo eh. Regalohan ko nga rin ito ng ‘Happiness Notebook’ para naman mag-count ng blessings.

    Tama ka, Jae, dapat hindi nga natin makalimutan ang mga blessings na dumarating – so basic in having a state of happiness yet too easily forgotten. I actually love doing that from time to time, especially at the end of every year!

    What fascinates me in your list is how happy you are when other people are happy too: most in your list I could say. That’s great!

    Enjoy Vietnam! If you’re going to Hanoi; do try to visit the Mondo Gelato shop of my classmate, Thu. I asked Chrisgel to see Thu (my classmate) there and promised him that Thu would give him ice cream free of charge; and Thu did! Sabihin mo friend kita. Sabi mo nga ‘Free food is good. Always.’ 😉

    I’m wondering though about this new job. I’m sure you’ll blog about it soon, and looking forward to reading that new experience. I wish you well. These days I’ve been so sentimental about things I do, see, smell, hear, and feel here in this part of Northern Europe as I am also about to leave this place very soon. Lagi ko nasasabi sa sarili ko: ‘mami-miss ko ito’. Pero ganito na nga talaga yata ang buhay ko, maya’t maya ang ‘goodbye-hello’ (para bang ‘Closing Time’ ng Semisonic — ‘Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end….’). At matagal na akong may sagot dito: Most of the time we have to miss things so that we won’t also miss other wonderful things the world is blessing us. The Zen teaching of accepting the impermanence of things must be key to making our notebooks filled with happiness. 🙂

    Cheers! 😉

  7. Bonn,

    Korek! Ang seryoso ng reply sa comment ko hinggil kay Trillanes. Pero hindi, constant buddy ko yan these days. At isa sa mga kina-count kong “blessings” sa mga panahong ito. Aww.

    Hindi na ata kami makakapunta ng Hanoi. Miss Saigon lang ata ako. Sayang! I would have loved the free ice cream.

    Sige, Ill blog about my new job as soon as I begin. Agrarian reform din sya. Ang ganda ng sinabi mong “Most of the time we have to miss things so that we won’t also miss other wonderful things the world is blessing us.” I’ll keep that in mind.

    O, uwi na. 🙂

    Much love,

  8. mukhang ok nga tong happiness notebook.nagsisimula na rin akong magsulat ulit sa journal ko.ung papel version.great way to start the day.

  9. Hi Golda! Hay naku, lahat ng attempts ko to begin a journal, hanggang first month lang. Andami kong mga 3/4 empty notebooks. But Ive been meaning to start again, and to actually have the discipline to see it through. I saw this beautiful journal in Fully Booked sa Gateway. Yung cover niya, baby pink leather. Sigh. Pero ang mahal. P950!!! At hindi pa refillable. Pero ang ganda nya talaga, super, and it’s a local brand kaya lalong okay. Some sets come with a wooden box na may antique finish, pero mas mahal na yun. If youre deadset on starting a journal, I highly recommend that. It comes in other colors pa. Authors’ Boulevard ata yung brand.

  10. Oh my jae,

    why is it everyone is having their happiness notebooks all of the sudden as if we’ve never been happier. at any rate, hope you’ll enjoy journalling and may words flow happily ever after.


    ps: i think having bottle of beers no longer captures your happy thoughts.


  11. Hmmm, I dont think beer was supposed to “capture your happy thoughts”.. 🙂

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