Day two of Blog-tember and the prompt today is:
Write about what makes you happy, from the little joys to the huge game-changers
It’s a juicy one today!
If you’d asked me this question a year ago, I’d have said a shopping spree or some new scrapbooking supplies, or a new book or shoes – glorious tempting shoes! – or a meal out or buying gifts for other people…la la la…you get me, amiright?
I was a slave to materialism, a mindless robot, spending as much as I was earning, finding happiness outside of myself, constantly in “Ooh, shiny! Ooh, got to have! Ooh, it has to come home with me!’ mode.
Then my life turned upside down. I saw something no-one should have to see. We had to leave the country where we’d been living. Then my husband abandoned us, accused me of abducting the children and – voila! – one agreement in front of the High Court later, I’m slap bang back in the place where I’d witnessed the horrible thing, defending myself against daily, ritualistic, bouts of inhuman abuse. Then, one day, I come home and not only is my husband gone (again! What’s with this guy?!?!!), so is all my stuff: computers, life’s work, all my possessions, every single photo I’ve ever taken in my life, passwords to all my accounts, addresses, everything…(please don’t ask, in the comments, why I didn’t have back-ups: I did, he erased those too!).
That kinda stuff kinda makes you – very very quickly – reevaluate what’s important in life.
Being Jasmine-like from Blue Jasmine just doesn’t cut it when you’re on your own in a foreign country and you’ve got two little children to raise, alone. Not much time to feel sorry for yourself when there’s no money for food, when clients are calling you to tell you they’ve been waiting too long, love your work but, hey, there’s plenty of good writers out there without problems, doll, sorry…
When shit happens – and it was, is, some serious shit, you’ve got to get moving and fast. The contingency plans you had in place never provided for such a drastic situation (especially when all the bank accounts were emptied, too). So, you set to, you reimagine yourself, assess your remaining potential, within the framework of what is available to you, make decisions quick on priorities and plans for moving forwards. Hallelujah Chris Gardner and his ‘Start where you are‘ book, it sure did help me put things in perspective (and, yes, I have over these past few months, countless times, remembered – and been inspired by – his creativity in hiding the dire situation from his son, as portrayed in the Pursuit of Happyness film!).
So, yeah, you pull yourself together, thanking God that the shocks were so bad you literally could not process them, which allowed you to at least function, and you find a new framework for understanding your life.
It starts with self-care, lots of it. Daily runs to start with (it’s free and the best thing for maintaining sanity!). Then a gratitude journal (it’s OK if three of the five daily ‘thank yous’ were regularly along the lines of, ‘Managed to eat something!; Made the bed!; Didn’t cry today!). Then I moved on to browsing Pinterest for uplifting, inspirational quotes (I have no friends here, don’t judge me, OK!) and reading lots of self-help stuff (Love you, Tony Robbins! Want to marry you, Marie Forleo! xxx). Then your body tells you you need to still your mind, so you start meditating. It doesn’t work for an age and then – boom! – one day it clicks and you experience what they tell you you can experience and there’s no turning back. Daily twice-daily meditation brings you a happiness you never even knew existed.
This leads you to experiencing true joy, emanating from within, so strongly that you don’t know how you lived without this feeling that fills you up so full you think you’ll explode from the sheer orgasmic-ness of it. People tell you that you look different, younger and, you know what, this life-changing internal joy, it makes you feel lighter, less burdened, happy. A happy that’s genuine, unshakeable, completely independent of external events/environments.
So what makes me happy now? Now that I’m feeling this happiness radiate from within, as I navigate our new life? I gain happiness from the littlest things: hearing my children laugh, tasting a pan au chocolat hot from the oven (they’re a treat round here nowadays), seeing a bird dart out in front of me as I run…a million and one tiny ordinary things. Now I have a greater sense of internal well-being, and more time/less clutter, which enables me to see clearly, I’ve realised that material things don’t make me happy, never made me happy. Happiness for me, at this moment, is everything that’s not a material possession.