Men are, at heart, boys. You realise this, in your thirties or early forties when it suddenly strikes you that you're never going to have a moment, when you think "My God, I'm an adult."
Of course, you own lots of adult stuff and have adult responsibilities and you're a bit more chilled out about things. But, deep down you're still a 14-year old.
This realisation is actually a very good thing. In fact, in many ways, it's the key to happiness as it makes you recognise that the little things that really make you happy are essentially grown-up versions of the things that made you happy when you were 12.
There's another side to the male joy of small things, though. As you age, you also start to see that a lot of activities that made you happy in your mid twenties (like staying out until 4am, three nights in a row) no longer do. Your body can't take it any more – and even if it could, having three kids crawling all over you with a steaming hangover is too great a price to pay for chemically-induced joie de vivre the night before. So, you start to look for healthier ways to be happy.
Finally, there's technologically-assisted happiness. Again this plays to your inner geek, but many of us who grew up in the '70s just can't believe how brilliantly convenient and on-demand life has become. Mentally we're hard-wired to expect slow service and limited choice, so today's digital cornucopia will always give those of us in our 40s a little bit of a thrill that our kids will never know.
Every time I watch something on demand, there's a part of me that can't believe this is possible.
So, what are the little things that mean a lot to men?
1. Lots of followers on social media
Yes, it's stamp collecting for the digital age. And yes, they'll often turn on you when when you make some ill-advised tweet. But how my heart leaps when I gain another dozen Twitter followers. And how validated do I feel by likes on Facebook. Speaking of validation, people at Twitter HQ, I'd really like one of those little blue ticks that shows I'm a "verified" account. Yes, I know it makes no real difference to me personally. I know it's the modern equivalent of sewing a merit badge on my scout jumper. But it would make me feel like a VIT. It's in your power to make me happy.
2. Transport upgrades
Is there any greater pleasure than hearing, "Sorry, economy is full, but we've managed to find you a seat in business?" My wife couldn't care less, but then again, she is a foot shorter than me. I'd take this further, though. Upgrade my train seat. I love you. Upgrade my hire car. I love you. If I was hiring a bike for the day and you gave me one with 21 gears, rather than 18, I would love you. In fact, I would probably love you if you downgraded me and then upgraded me so I was back where I started.
3. Airport lounges
Perhaps it's the depressing commercial squalor of airports which often makes you feel like you're in a version of The Hunger Games, set in a shopping mall, with 100,000 contestants. After this, nothing beats walking through a discreet door into the aircon elegance and calm of your lounge where people are behaving like all air travellers did until around 1989. I do get the argument that airport lounges are expensive and that, rather than sit in one, I could sit in the total privacy of my own sitting room and leave an hour later. But there's something about the word 'lounge". Besides, my own home doesn't have four different kinds of fruit juice and an enticing selection of biscuits.
4. New technology
Many people bemoan our ever-shorter upgrade cycles. Not me. New TVs, new cameras, new laptops and new phones ... I love them all. Two years. One year. Six months. I love the idea that the time to upgrade is now. To be fair, I don't think I've experienced a real "Eureka!" moment since my first Ericsson not-quite-dumbphone started downloading emails all those years ago, yet I religiously change phones every nine months, revelling in those incremental improvements. Heck, I even get excited when Android tells me it's going to upgrade my operating system. Laugh if you will, but when my phone upgraded KitKat to Lollipop, I knew what happiness was.
5. Instant books
You used to read a review of a good history book in the paper and then you'd head down to your local bookshop which would stock mainly Jilly Cooper and Jeffrey Archer, so you'd have to order it – and wait two weeks. Now, you read the review, go on Amazon and it arrives the next day. Pretty soon, it will arrive within a few hours (and there's always Kindle). When it comes to ordering books, my children will never know delayed gratification – and this is a very good thing.
6. Green juice
If you told me, 20 years ago, that I'd be drinking liquidised vegetables that had been put through my wife's Nutribullet, I'd have spat my lager at you laughing before taking another bite of my kebab. But now, I love the way green juice combines smug virtue with just about enough science to appeal to my inner geek. Besides, like so many people who were in their twenties in the 1990s, when it comes to things that are bad for your body, I've been there, done that and got it out of my system. Now, it's time to do some good – and kale juice is the new cocaine.
7. Ordering a second bottle of wine at lunch
Ideally you do this on a Thursday – and before you know it, it's a 4pm and you realise there's no point in going back to work. This is something that has actually become much nicer for being much rarer. When you do it regularly, it loses its appeal and you just become a regular, sweaty, heavy lunchtime drinker – and one who usually goes back to work at 4:45pm, before being hit by a leaden hangover at 5pm. But done a couple of times a year, it's brilliant – and combines the illicit, childish thrill of skiving with the grown-up pleasure of being able to afford decent wine.
8. Finding new episodes of TV series
How fantastic is it when you go onto a streaming service and discover that there are another five or six episodes of Game of Thrones (or, in my case The Last Ship) that you haven't watched. It's like finding money down the back of the sofa or discovering that, even though most of the cereal has been eaten, the toy is still at the bottom. For people of my age there is the added techno-thrill of having grown up with three dreary channels in the '70s. Every time I watch something on demand, there's a little part of me that can't believe this is possible.
9. Noticing you've lost weight
In my twenties, I never, ever thought about my weight, largely because a diet rich in beer and orange food had no effect on it. In my thirties, all this changed and my weight went in one direction: up. But in your forties, you come out of denial and start treating your body like a project - exercise and green juice goes in and weight-loss comes out. As a man, this appeals to both your nerdy, stat-obsessed side and your vanity. If someone else notices you've lost weight, that's even better - it's third-party validation. It's like having your funny Tweet retweeted. If the person who comments on your weight loss is slim and pretty, it's like having your Tweet retweeted by someone famous.
10. Shopping for a new (or second-hand) car
In a grown-up way, this allows you to indulge in an completely pointless fetishisation of gadgets. If you're buying a new car, most new cars are pretty well made, so the gadgets and little details suddenly take on a disproportionate importance. Heated wing mirrors or heated steering wheel? Blind spot sensors, super-expensive stereo or some weird energy recovery system? That you will never use or even notice most of the gadgets only improves this aimless comparison shopping experience. It's enjoyable even when you're shopping for second-hand cars. There, you see the weird gadget packages others chose – and marvel at their peculiar choices. If you're shopping for quite an old car, there's fun to be had, too. Many of the gadgets will have taken on a slightly retro, Star-Trekkish feel, allowing you to wallow in techno-stalgia for the gadgets of your salad days.
The Telegraph, London
What other little things make you ridiculously happy? Let us know in the comments section.