It’s funny how it’s so easy to fall into a default setting of “glum”. When the weather’s a bit rubbish and you’re tired and the dishes are piling up and you can’t afford that new dress, it can sometimes feel like the world is against you. Or is that just me?
We’re going through a bit of a stressful time in our household at the moment. Lots of change is afoot, which means a huge amount of juggling, not much sleep and more than the odd tense moment.
Although I relish change and get excited about new things, it’s difficult to let yourself get too carried away when you don’t know exactly how things will pan out. That lack of security has had me and The (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine doing that thing of, “Once this month is over, it’ll all be OK”. Basically, we’re wishing our lives away past this challenge, counting down the seconds of each day until things are more settled.
That is A Bad Thing.
This is what I realised this weekend, while I was at Blog Summit, listening to the fantastically inspiring Andy Cope. He talked about living life “well”, rather than rushing through it, looking forward to the next event. His theory is that happy people are the ones who “stop looking for gold at the end of the rainbow”, realising that perhaps “that pot of gold is already sitting at their feet”.
According to Andy, happiness is a choice we make. It’s often hard work to jolt yourself into feeling positive and to remind yourself of the good over the bad, but it’s an effort worth making if you want to feel the glow of being happy. And, as Andy says, happiness often leads to success. Happy people have more energy and motivation; they have a certain “zing” that is difficult to define, but it’s magnetic.
I like to think I’m a fairly positive person, making the most of life. But, sometimes, my idea of making the most of life is more about cramming as much as possible into 24 hours. It means I sometimes forget to just enjoy a moment, relax and not worry about the next thing. Whether it’s immersing myself in a game with my toddler or enjoying working on a great creative piece of work, my mind is often on the next thing, planning ahead.
My mum (who is the wisest woman in the world and knows everything) has taken to sending me postcards with little nuggets of advice on. Her latest one is particularly apt, I think.
She knows me well, my mum. She knows that I’m constantly reaching for the next thing, sometimes picturing myself in an uphill struggle alone. But, as she reminds me, I’m never alone, because I have a family who love me. Every now and again, I need a little jolt to help me remember that.
That’s why I’m going to take Andy Cope’s advice. I’m going to listen to my mum. And I’m going to follow my own instincts that tell me to stop looking at what I don’t have and to start focusing on what I do: a beautiful family, a clean bill of health, a full belly, a roof over our head, a sturdy bank balance, a bright future.
Life is good. I’m choosing happy. After all, that approach seems to be working for my toddler.