What is Small but Certain Happiness?
Haruki Murakami introduced the concept in his essay “Afternoon in the Islets of Langerhans” where he describes small pleasure derived from mundane activities. For myself, this can be a cup of tea, sweet pastries, flowers in the garden, or light morning rain.
Sometime in 2017, the phrase “small but certain happiness” started trending in South Korea. The movement picked up among the younger generation and, with an increasing number of instagram accounts dedicated to this kind of content, mostly hashtagged as 소확행 (sohwakhaeng is a shortening of the words sosohajiman hwaksilhan haengbok.) It is a direct translation of ‘small but certain happiness.’ Sohwakhaeng instagram accounts mostly centered on food, pastries, and beverage.
Finding Common Ground
Like the many young Koreans facing anxiety over economy, unemployment and housing, I too was exhausted and scared about a seemingly unreachable future. I could barely afford to live on my single income paycheck, let alone dream of a downpayment for a home. A cheesecake, and a plant were much more accessible than the traditional sign posts of adulthood.
Stumbling on Small but Certain Happiness
Two years ago, I felt increasingly frustrated while working as a producer in densely populated Metro Manila.
I gravitated towards “Home Cafe” instagram accounts. During weekends, I’d take art lessons at the university museum, make my meals from scratch, and walk my cousin’s dog. I didn’t realize until much later that what I was creating for myself was a world full of small, uplifting acts. In fact, we all have pockets of happiness we run to for our sanctuary. But having the words to describe such pursuit makes it more fulfilling.
For someone living to pay rent, I turned to everyday things like cooking, music, films, quiet cafes and spaces. This is how Milk, Home & Honey came to be. There have been a few iterations, but at the core, I share how an ordinary, normal person can live mindfully, and find happiness even whilst living in the city. I came to see intentional living not as an aspirational status lifestyle but more about pacing one’s self with my life’s own seasons and rhythm.
This is what I hope to share with you in Milk, Home Honey- that while we slowly stumble into adulthood, we can all find comfort and delight in our day-to-day experiences.