I hope you all had fabulous weekends and got to enjoy some last of the Summer sunshine. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness. That sounds a little odd doesn’t it? Surely happiness isn’t something you really need to think about – it’s either there or it isn’t, right? Well, actually I’m not too sure that is the case…
The concept of happiness is something I used to struggle with a lot when I was younger. I spent a lot of years feeling that I wasn’t unhappy per se but worrying that the absence of unhappiness wasn’t really enough. I think I possessed this misguided notion that happiness was this huge all-encompassing event where the sun was shining, the birds were singing and I would be overcome by happiness. I think I almost believed that happiness was a tangible “thing” – I certainly believed it was a special and rare experience.
The sad fact is that I spent a lot of time when I was in my teens and early twenties feeling like I was missing out, that happiness was always out of reach: an elusive emotion I could never quite touch. As I got older, I realised that actually happiness is a lot simpler than that. Yes, sometimes it is this huge, all encompassing thing that you feel you can literally breathe in and feel running through your veins. But more often that not, it’s just a passing moment that makes you smile. And those moments can be just as special, as long as you allow yourself to recognise and appreciate them.
Happiness in Hindsight
Earlier this year I finally faced up to something that I’d known for a few years: that my job was looming over my entire life and making me miserable, not just Monday to Friday but in all aspects of my life. So, after a lot of soul searching and a huge amount of support from Mr. DB I made the scary but soul affirming decision to quit. I have never felt relief like it and hand on my heart I can say that I have not regretted or doubted that decision for a single minute.
However, quite quickly all those old concerns about happiness came flooding back. I was doing something positive and new and taking control of my life; shouldn’t I feel, well, happier? I quickly realised however that actually I was happy – yes I was also slightly terrified, unsure, nervous of the change and upheaval and scared about what the future might hold – but actually my overarching sense was one of feeling relaxed, calm and content – emotions that I’d struggled to experience for a long time.
In the busy world that we live in we can all be a little guilty of seeing happiness in hindsight. Time and time again, I realise that doing something or being somewhere or seeing someone has made me genuinely happy, but I didn’t realise it at the time. I feel like I get so caught up in “stuff” that I forget to appreciate life as it happens and don’t really notice my happiness until after the event. And if you don’t notice it, it makes it pretty hard to enjoy it!
I have learnt that happiness – at least for me – is a continuum. Sometimes it might just be watching a film that makes me laugh, discovering a good book or curling up on the sofa with my man. Sometimes it is something all consuming where you smile so much your face aches, you are overwhelmed by just how amazing an experience it is and you are totally aware of the magic of the moment: for me this year, my wedding day has to be the obvious choice here! I think both are just as important in their own ways.
Those all-consuming experiences of happiness are amazing but by definition they can’t happen all the time and living your life waiting for the next big happy moment can actually leave you feeling pretty low and missing all the amazing little things that life has to offer.
Living in the Moment
So over the past few months I’ve been making a real effort to embrace everyday life: appreciate the new things I am experiencing, people I am meeting and just enjoying the simple things. Here are some of the little things that have made me happy in the past week or so:
- Enjoying a hot cup of tea in bed with a packet of chocolate biscuits
- Watching our new kitten Luigi settle into his home and getting to know his adorable little personality
- Finishing A Winter In Spain by C.J. Sansom – a fantastic book that I really enjoyed
- Finally getting around to making all the decisions regards our wedding album and getting them ordered – we cannot wait to receive it!
- Watching Autumn start to creep in and enjoying the sunshine and crisp days
- Spending some time with my husband as we had our first full weekend together in over a month
- Catching up with friends over dinner
- Putting up new artwork in our house including a fabulous laser cut wooden bespoke piece we had designed for our wedding day
So here’s to learning to accept that happiness can come from the simplest of things. I’d love to know if you’ve had these same fears as me about finding happiness, what changes have you made to your life to find it and what little things have been making you happy recently?