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??

 

 

Well — maybe?

Anticipation is a wonderful thing.  I’ve been seconded play a part in a murder mystery night.  It will be great fun, and I’m really looking forward to it.  Ross has a part as well.

The theme is set in the 1920’s so Ross is a gangster and I’m a prostitute.  Such fun working out what costumes we could wear.

Over the past few weeks we’ve gone through lots of different options but now we really have to settle on the actual costumes.  We have done so many maybe’s that after a while you begin to get confused and end up with far too many options that could be suitable.  Op Shops have become a favoured haunt as I search for that extra little prop that will make the costume more authentic.

But really I’ve been dithering about what I could wear, and even though I’ve almost completed my ensemble, there seems to be some doubt.  I keep thinking that maybe if I just … or maybe I could have and then I come back to the original idea.

Life can be a little like that.  There are so many times that I’ve reached a decision about something, and then I vacillate wondering if I should do this, or perhaps that?

Some people seem to be able to decide quickly and definitely and stick with that.  I admire them as I’m certainly in the opposite camp a lot of the time.  Second guessing myself and wondering if I’m choosing well or not.

But then again does it really matter?  I don’t have to be like someone else at all, I can just be who I am and if it takes me a while to reach a decision some days — so what!  As long as I’m happy with the outcome.

So look out, here comes Charlotte the Harlot and Syd — ‘The Gun” Davies.  We are going to look awesome and no-one will really know how long it took to decide on our costumes.

Who knows, maybe I’ll take up acting as my next career!!

Stories

Our lives are filled with stories.  We tell them all the time.  We use them to justify our actions, our experiences and a myriad of other reasons that occur in our everyday lives.

For example, I recently attended a weekend seminar where we got to delve deep into what makes us tick.  One thing we had to do in preparation was to decide what aspect of our lives we needed to work on over the weekend.

After much thought I decided that although I seem to be able to communicate quite well with my writing, I didn’t feel that I was communicating orally very clearly.  So I came to the conclusion that I needed more work in that area and off I went to the seminar.

When I shared my issue with another attendee, the response was that I was being ridiculous, that if I could write a book, then there was no real reason for me to think I couldn’t communicate well with the spoken word also.

It didn’t even take one day for me to work out that I’d been telling myself a story about being a poor communicator.  I stood up in front of over one hundred people —strangers most of them and spoke quite comfortably plus I got my message across.

So I had to ask myself the question regarding my thinking.  Why did I think I wasn’t any good at communication?

Looking at that, I realised the story part of it was true and that the rest was ridiculous.  But I’d been using that story to justify why I wasn’t doing well in other areas of my life.  It seems that you don’t even have to tell yourself the story very often for you to believe it.  For it to become fact.

Seemingly it is very easy to believe the negative stories in our lives, often they only need one small trigger to set us up in that story and we tell ourselves it is real.  When in fact it has evolved from — in my case — a simple set back that had me believing my story.

Now for some inexplicable reason, we don’t seem to take the positives in our lives and turn them into awesome stories.  I’m not sure why not.  Maybe it’s related in my case, to my mother telling me not to brag about myself.  Being told that talking about myself in that way is just not acceptable to others.

Perhaps I’ll never know, but I’m now in the process of looking at other areas of my life that are quite possibly stories that I can eliminate also.

What stories do you tell about yourself that just maybe aren’t true?  Where do you tell yourself ‘I can’t do that because…..’

 

 

Excuse me?

Sometimes it seems I let my life be run by excuses.

When I stop and think about it, I find that there are so many ‘reasons’ I use to explain why I didn’t do something.  Many have become habits.  Sometimes I call it procrastination, but whichever word I use, it’s really the same thing.

Now that I’ve actually identified that I do use excuses in my everyday life, I can see that perhaps it is time to knuckle down and eradicate a few of these from my life.

I didn’t go for my walk today because it was too cold.  Or —I ran out of time as I have to go to work today and if I’d gotten up earlier I wouldn’t have had enough sleep!  Plus I won’t be able to go after work as it will be too dark — and too cold again.

I didn’t make that phone call because they might be picking the kids up from school, driving, getting tea ready, going out or whatever!

When I have more time I’ll be able to do X, but I’m really too busy at the moment.

Or, when I’ve saved some more money I’ll be able to afford to do Y but money is a bit tight at the moment……

I also hear some of these in others as I go about my daily life.  I know I am not alone in using excuses for a myriad of things, but that doesn’t make it all right.

I think I’ve become so accustomed to using excuses that they have begun to seem normal, as part of my everyday life.

Oh and I meant to call so and so, but it got too late and I never phone anyone after nine thirty at night.  That would be rude!

I sometimes wonder just what life would be like without excuses.

How would I function?  Somehow I imagine I’d be extremely productive, I think in reality I would most likely have more time for leisure activities and just maybe I’d be a lot more successful than I am now.

Well, I can only write a short blog today as I have to go to work and if I do any more I will be late….

 

What’s your excuse??

 

Older — Wiser??

You’d think that getting older would make you wiser. However age doesn’t equal wisdom in reality.
Sure, as I’ve gotten older there have been a lot that has been added to my knowledge bank, but that doesn’t mean I actually use that information wisely.  On the contrary, I often make such simple mistakes that when reviewed make me cringe in shame.
Still I believe that to be part of membership in the human race.  I look at others and wonder how they got to be so wise — when I’ve had similar experiences yet still make novice mistakes.
Raising my children for instance — if I had the chance to go back to the beginning there would probably be a few changes I’d make.  But then again that might change the way my children grew, and when I stop and take a good look at what I’ve got now, well perhaps I did get quite a lot right.
My work experiences too could probably be over-scrutinised and my performance picked to pieces as well.  Yes I could have handled some situations much more diplomatically, but diplomacy and me don’t really seem to be partners.
Then there was the period of time when I watched my daughter unravel and simply didn’t have the knowledge or understanding to respond in the ‘right’ way.  Was there really a ‘right’ way, or is that what I’d liked to have had at that time?
Looking back is not always a good idea.  I have conversations in my head that go amazingly well — afterwards.  Somedays I think that if I could just open my mouth a little wider I might be able to fit the other foot in it!
Life doesn’t come with a manual or troubleshooting guide, we just have to muddle along making the best of it from our observations and experiences.  We each have our own sets of ideas for the various areas in our lives such as raising children, work ethics and conducting our daily lives.  Yes we’ve probably gathered ideas and incorporated them into our repertoires along the way, yet that alone is what makes each of us unique.
Imagine how crushingly boring life would be if we all behaved the same way, followed the same guidelines and thought the same way — yuk!!
I must have had some flash of wisdom in me when I  selected my mate of the past forty four years — and they said it would never last!
Still, I am what or who I am and I’ve been shaped by my experiences and circumstances that have helped form the me of today.
Do I need to change that me, or should I be wise and leave well enough alone?