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I’m always interested in anything related to happiness so I loved this post. It’s thought-provoking, witty…well read it for yourself and enjoy!
When it comes to happiness, I’m not often going to be quoting either ex-Conseravtive MP Gyles Brandreth or indeeed the xenohpobic and misery inducing Daily Mail, but a change is as good as a rest. I’m intrigued by one of Gyles’s ‘secrets to happiness’ from his recently published book and article in ‘Fe-Mail’ (get it – because the Mail is, of course a men’s paper when it comes to important things like news and sport, but likes to cater for the lovely ladies every now and then) .
‘Happiness’ sells, because who doesn’t want to be happy? My own philosophy (Lukas’s secret to happiness, and you get it free…for what it’s worth, as I’m a notoriously gloomy old queen) is that it’s a journey rather than a destination, and that we alone are responsible for our own happiness. So I’m surprised how challenged I feel by one of the most…
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This post is inspired by an article by Barbara Sher in this month’s Psychologies magazine.
In the article, she talks about serial starters – people who keep taking up new hobbies or starting new projects but don’t always finish them – in other words, me.
I start things: sometimes I finish them; often I don’t, I get near to the end and then stop; frequently I return to them, then stop again. I thought there was something wrong with me because I can’t settle to one thing and become an ‘expert’ at it, no matter how desperately I resolve to. This was making me feel lacking, deficient, flawed. However, I now discover I’m not alone and there’s nothing wrong with me. I’m just curious and get a buzz out of experiencing new things. There’s a website, Dabbler, where you can sign up and learn a new hobby every month. I registered, but didn’t take it any further, worried that it would encourage me to start even more things that I never finish.
There seems to be a general consensus, drummed into us from an early age, that it’s virtuous, desirable and even necessary to finish what we start. However, it might be just as good to stop before we finish. Maybe we do so because we’ve got what we came for and our goal has been achieved. People like us, scanners, are versatile, willing to learn new things and adaptable to changing circumstances. Barbara Sher likens our brain to ‘a big happy puppy’ – what a lovely image!
So I’m not going to feel guilty about taking up and giving up a new hobby, or starting but not finishing a new project. I’m going to celebrate the fact that I’m curious, motivated and enthusiastic about taking on the challenge of trying something new. I’m a jack-of-all-trades and it doesn’t matter that I’m master of none.
Are you a scanner?
In this 24/7 society, holidays are viewed by some as an unnecessary luxury, something to be frowned upon or to feel guilty about taking. However, as far as I’m concerned, taking a holiday – whether it’s staying at home and having a few days off work or going to a different location – is essential. Why?
Firstly, the daily grind can be a slog as we rush from work to home and home to work, running errands in between, with our eyes constantly on the clock and our body under stress. Getting away from this, affords our minds and bodies the chance to switch off from this relentless pressure and take the opportunity to repair and recover.
Secondly, stepping outside the daily routine allows us to get things into perspective. When we’re not snowballing along in our everyday lives, we can stand back and reassess the way we are living and compare it to the way we would like to live. We have the time and space to reflect on this and consider ways in which we can make changes.
A further advantage is that experiencing a different routine or location reminds us that the life we are living is not the only one to live. It’s a cliché, but travel really does broaden the mind and allow us to see things from other points of view. Visiting a different place, seeing new sights and making new friends can be exhilarating and inspiring. Not only that, but holidays also give us time to reconnect with our family and strengthen our relationships.
Finally, a break is rejuvenating and allows us to return to our daily life feeling refreshed and recharged, and with the motivation to make adjustments to enhance our lives.
With this in mind, have a lovely holiday season!
When I was younger, I sometimes felt that I was waiting for my life to begin. There would be a particular moment when all the stars aligned, everything would fall into place and my life proper, the life I saw myself living, would truly commence.
Recently, I saw a question asking “Do you feel like you’re waiting for your real life to begin?” I thought about this and realised that I’m not; I’m living my real life now with all its challenges and idiosyncrasies, moments of despair, and times of joy and laughter.
One of the benefits of getting older is that I seem to be more realistic and accepting of what life slings at me. Rather than restlessly yearning for a future ideal, I accept the imperfect present and get on with it.
I accept that, at the moment, I have neither the time nor indeed the inclination to listen to serious radio, follow a housework schedule that effortlessly results in a spotless house, land the perfect, fantastically paid and immensely rewarding job, and so on.
I am, however, pursuing whatever captures my imagination, opening myself up to new experiences and opportunities, finding pleasure in the simple things. I no longer crave the perfect future when I can live the ideal life that I used to picture for myself but I enjoy living in the messy present.
And I feel a lot better for it.
This is my real life – the one that is taking place right this minute and I’m determined not to waste it either dwelling on the past or imagining a future.
Life is for living – now.
I frequently wake up on a Sunday morning with no real plans and as a result the day drifts. Come early evening, lots of ideas about what I could have done keep popping into my head and I feel frustrated that I haven’t achieved much more than a bit of housework and a half-hearted dabble in a few hobbies.
Today I decided things would be different so I went on to lastminute.com to see what theatre tickets were available this afternoon for shows in London. (Yes, I know: London’s on my doorstep and I don’t know what to do!)
I got a good deal for a show I’ve been thinking about seeing for a long time: Burn the Floor. It stars Robin Windsor and Kristina Rihanoff from Strictly Come Dancing, and was recommended to me some time ago. As it finishes its run at the end of the month, I’ve got tickets in the nick of time. I’m treating my daughter as she enjoys a dance show and we’ll head to London a bit earlier and have some lunch first, maybe in Covent Garden. She’s just finished her exams so it will be really nice to relax and spend the day with her.
Last night, I spent a few hours dancing. This afternoon, I’m going to sit back and enjoy watching the experts, and hopefully get a bit of dancing inspiration
I feel so much better now I have definite plans for the day.
How are you spending your Sunday?
I’d like to say a very big thank you to all those who have chosen to follow this blog, and to those whose blogs I follow and/or read, for providing me with so much support and inspiration.
Here’s to many more years of blogging.