A complicated look at uncomplicated topics to ameliorate your day.
Humans. We’re bred tough. We’re told to suck it up. We’ve gotta get up and dust ourselves off, we’ve got to keep trucking, we’ve gotta roll with the punches, take a teaspoon of cement and a bucket of water and harden the eff up. Hold on a second, when did life become like a training session for the New York Jets preseason?
Human strength is admirable. Absolutely. In times of tragedy and hardship, the endurance of the human spirit is nothing short of astonishing. But thankfully, as humans, we’re never given anything more than what we can handle and our day to day lives are not the monumental struggle that the prevailing ‘suck it up princess’ mentality would have us believe.
Luckily for us, there is something we all do which helps to balance out the tough. Some of us do it every day, some of us do it many times a day, others only let it creep in once a week or so. And then, there are some of us who don’t even realize when we’re doing it.
Melting. It’s the inexplicable reaction of absolute, utter, toe tingling, heart beating, limb buzzing, smile inducing happiness that we get when we do certain things.
Who knows what it is about babies. Perhaps it’s their innocence, their unconditional love, their purity or maybe just the fact we’re genetically programmed to think they are damn cute! Either way, the announcement that one is coming, the anticipation and excitement, the arrival of a new baby, the joy and smiles they bring once they’re here, that first precious cuddle, the moment they smile, it melts us.
A bit like Justin Timberlake, babies are also a triple threat. They melt us by themselves, they melt us in photos and they melt us when they’re in the arms of the ones we love. When it comes to babies, resistance is futile.
The static moment that captures the transient happiness, freedom and love we feel in a snapshot we can carry with us forever. And replicate. And duplicate. Photos can take us back to a moment where we were blissfully happy, they can show us a moment we weren’t at that makes us smile broadly and they can capture a person or place that we love so much that we just melt when we see it.
Granted, they are more often a vehicle that facilitates melting rather than the instigator, but they allow us to reprint and relive those moments that melted us, so we can look at them and melt, over and over again.
Sunsets, blue skies, clear waters, a cool breeze rustling through trees, the smell of a rose, any kind of animal doing anything remotely cute. Nature has a well-stocked weaponry cupboard when it comes to melting.
Occasionally a man-made structure comes close to taking your breath away, but there is simply nothing we can create that can compete with the awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, breathtaking beauty of nature. Those moments when you are overwhelmed by the sheer majesty of nature melts you to the core and makes you realize how lucky we are to inherit this Earth.
You’re wearing your favourite jeans, your comfortable shoes, your warmest jacket and your favourite hat. Your backpack is stocked with food for the day; you’ve got some money in your wallet, a map in your pocket and adventure in your heart.
You’re in a new place or town or city and before you stands a completely new day. Untainted, unplanned and completely unknown. The feeling of only knowing exactly who you are and nothing else is exhilarating as the possibilities of the unknown stretch before you, making your arms and legs buzz in anticipation and your heart melt.
‘When was the last time you read a book that made you feel this good?’ The catchphrase of incomparable The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society explains exactly what that book does; it doesn’t just educate or inform, distract or engage, it’s so damn good it actually makes you melt.
Books and stories transport us from our everyday lives to another world, with people who become as real as those we walk past down the street and places that seem only a train ride away. The good books, they make us feel things we don’t always feel. But the really great books? The ones that make us laugh out loud, cry and smile, again and again. They make us melt.
The minute you hear those first few notes, a smile spreads across your face and you start tapping your foot. It might be the melody; the guitar riff at the start or the lyrics, for each and every person the song that does this will be different. There are just some songs that make you crazy happy, like your whole body is buzzing and nothing could be better than this moment right now as you listen to these notes. Hearing it evokes a memory intrinsically linked with your inner melt switch which just turns your dial to happy, contented and buzzing. I suspect this may have been the sensation that Hanson was referring to in MMMBop, but the meaning of that song never did become clear…
To be truthful, it was James Blunt’s Bonfire Heart that inspired this post and it was played continuously about thirty-two times whilst it was written. Credit to me, I managed to listen to James continuously thirty-two times without losing my mind. Credit to James, if that is the case, then that is some serious melting.
The ones that make you melt. Sometimes they’re your best friend, sometimes they’re you’re little brother, sometimes they’re the strangers embracing on the train, sometimes they’re the love of your life. And when you see them, you smile. It’s like swallowing, your involuntary muscles just take over and without you realizing it, you’re beaming. In their presence, you just melt. And in that moment, you can’t imagine being any happier or what your life would be like without them. There is nothing that life can throw at you that you cannot conquer, literally no mountain too high, valley too deep or river to wide, you are swathed in gratitude and you know that you are immeasurably lucky. And you’re smiling as you read this, because the person that makes you melt has just popped into your mind.
The thing is, if you consider how often you smile when you’re melting, how good those tingles in your toes feel, how much your heart is literally bursting, you realize that we all need to melt every once in a while. It’s intrinsically linked to allowing yourself to be happy, and to embracing that happiness for however long that moment might be. The sunset could last ten minutes, the photo could last a week, the hug could last for just six seconds, but the melting it causes, it propels us forward, makes us stand up straighter, helps us believe in our deepest dreams and desires and most importantly, it keeps our hearts open.
Keep a photo of the place that inspires you, listen to the song that makes you bop and smile, grab hold of that person who melts you, cherish the love that makes you melt time and time again, and no matter how many times life tells you to toughen up and roll with the punches, don’t let go. Happiness is yours, own it.