Happiness came to me in the sauce aisle

Forever, it seems, we have harked back to better times.

I can remember watching The Good Life on television as a child, following Tom and Barbara's bumbling efforts to live a life of self-sufficiency in London.

It was definitely laughable to us as children, who dreamt of swimming pools and chocolate bars and Coca-Cola, and all the things that were in short supply for Aussie children in the 1970s. Or at least in our family.

How old those people seemed who insisted on telling stories about what happened "in their day".

Now, I find, I have gone from being an eye-roller to a slightly bitter reminiscer.

I draw the line at the "threepence for a bag of broken biscuits" story my husband likes to tell, but I do have a few subjects of my own I like to dwell on with people close to my own age.

There was quite a bit of musing between like minds the other day over our lack of sympathy for young people who could not afford their own home.

Frankly, I'm sick of this story. Go back to the good old days of Tom and Barbara and no wifi, no mobile phone plans, no entertainment packages and the most basic of vehicles, and you too will be able to afford a house.

We didn't eat meat for some time in an effort to make house payments.

And, you know, what we bought was no mansion. It wasn't a shoebox in the middle of the road, but we didn't have five bedrooms and there wasn't even one en suite. I'm pretty sure I didn't know what one was.

Then there were interest rates. Up to about 17 per cent on your loan.

The funny thing is, don't we all feel a pull back to those hard times? Isn't there an element of longing in our "remember whens"?

When people are dying and in the grip of muddled reminisces, isn't the time when the kids were small, when money was short, when we worked hard and laughed hard that are the memories that come tumbling out? The times when we had to pull together to make things work?

I don't know what the moral to this story is. I have nothing against young people. I was one yesterday.

I think it's more about recognising happiness when you have it. Grabbing that fleeting moment and treasuring it. It's not about the house or the car, or the handbag or the mobile phone, it's about the living.

I was in the supermarket the other day when I felt this weird feeling. It was happiness. Things were good in that moment in the sauce aisle. I'll take it.

Marie Low is a freelance journalist.