Happiness

Ask ten people what happiness means to them and you will get ten different answers.  It is an individual thing.

You often hear people say things like “If I could just get x done, then I will be happy.”  Or along the lines of if I won the lottery I’d be happy.

Usually there’s a disclaimer attached to this elusive happiness.

So what is it really?

I don’t think it is something that can be easily defined simply because it has  many varied definitions to people.

Often I find myself feeling happy when I hadn’t really thought about it, not something that I’d reached for but it just popped up.

You can be happy for others when things go well for them, we may say — ‘I’m so happy for so and so now that x has happened’  or I might say that I feel happy now that I’ve done all that ironing — actually I didn’t , but I’m really happy that Ross did the ironing!

I read a quote recently that got me thinking about happiness and what it means.

“Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.”                    Steve Maraboli.

If someone asks if you are happy — do you have to think about it or do you answer right away?

I look around me and consider just how blessed I am to have what I have and to be able to do what I do,   When I stop and appreciate what I have all is well with my world — so yes that makes me happy.

What makes you happy?

Anticipation

Anticipation is a strange thing.  You can  anticipate something with dread or you can be anticipating with excitement.  Either way it is about our feelings regarding some event in the future.

I anticipated that when I reached retirement age I would be doing less, relaxing  writing and crocheting — generally sitting back and watching things happen around me whilst deciding wether or not I wanted to participate.

I don’t have a full-time job anymore as I’m a casual working one day a week — unless they need someone in a hurry and then I do an extra day here and there.  That’s okay.  But it’s something I really enjoy doing and I get to talk to lots of people and that makes it fun — not a chore.  Then there is my passion for cooking and saving time, so I have become a Thermomix consultant which can take as much or as little time as I choose.

Then I had a conversation with a former workmate (from my previous work-life) and she commented that now retirement is here,  carrying a diary is mandatory as there is so much happening.  I recall hearing my father-in-law saying that he didn’t know how he fitted everything in when he was working as he was so busy once he’d retired.

And yes, I find the same.  I have to have a diary and I need to check what’s happening before I commit to something new.

So that’s been a case of anticipating one thing, and reality being something totally different.  But in a good way.

Then there is the anticipation with dread — things like exams; job interviews; the credit card statement and so on.  How often have you dreaded something happening and when it is over and done you look back and think — “Now that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”

This week I’ve been anticipating with excitement a course I’m about to do.  It’s called Empowered Speaker Workshop and will be over two days.  I came across it and it fitted perfectly with what I want to do regarding marketing my book.  So off I go tomorrow anticipating an awesome two days of fun and learning.   Something we are never too old to do.

We’ve just passed the seventeenth anniversary of Kelly’s death, and I used to approach these days with much dread.  They are a reminder of all we have lost, and in the past been very sad days.  Now I don’t think that way at all, I just look at the day as a way of marking the time that has gone and using the time to enjoy the cherished memories I have of her.

Of course I still dread getting on the scales to see what damage I’ve done celebrating her memory.

What are you anticipating now?

Playing Small

I recently had a slight setback health-wise, nothing major — in fact quite small really.  However the slightest deviation from what we perceive as normal in our bodies can make a major difference to how we approach our lives in general.

My elbow was injured.  It was sore — really sore and such a nuisance because it affected a lot of what I did.  I was constantly conscious of it as it hurt  every time I moved my arm, and it was especially painful when I was in bed, as I’d go to roll over and use my arm then whoa there — that hurts.

So I became rather focused on one part of my body, almost obsessed about it. It appeared to be my only focus at times to the detriment of other areas of my life.

I began thinking about my reaction to such a small inconvenience.  And thats all it was — an irrelevant inconvenience, but I had made it into something much bigger.  Poor me!

So then I asked myself if there was anytime else in my life that I was allowing to keep me small, that was stopping me from achieving greater things.

Last weekend I attended a workshop on public speaking, which I did because I knew the presenter and I had attended one other of her sessions and enjoyed it.  I enrolled because I thought that I might get something out of it that would benefit a business I run.

So a really early morning start on a Saturday morning, getting out of my comfort zone and grumbling to myself that it would be nicer to stay in bed and then have my usual leisurely weekend breakfast.

Five minutes into the first session I had an epiphany.

I realised that what I had come for wasn’t nearly as important as another area in my life. It occurred to me that I had been playing small, really small in the area of marketing my book.  My intentions when I wrote the book were to get the message out there that we all have a role to play in the prevention of suicide.  It was written because I didn’t want Kelly to be just another statistic on the register of deaths by suicide.  So I didn’t play small when I wrote the book, it just evolved.  I found so many reasons why I didn’t have the time to devote to it, and when I look at it like that I have been minimising the importance of the message I set out to deliver.

The breakthrough was being able to admit I’d been playing small and that there is only one person who can do anything about it — me.

Once I had come to that realisation, then it seems everything makes sense again.  I have a purpose, but more importantly a commitment to fulfil.  A commitment I made over a decade ago that I now know I will make.

In a few days time it will be the seventeenth anniversary of Kelly’s death.  So it seems only fitting that I begin the next year honouring Kelly.

Where are you playing small in your life??