How to find it, how to keep it.
I try not to post anything on this blog that could come across as preachy or patronising, and so have been contemplating how best to write this for a while. The last thing I want is to give the impression that my life is perfect and I’m 100% happy with every aspect of it, however I do believe that happiness, to a degree, is a matter of choice.
The thing I love the most about having my own blog, is having an outlet for all the thoughts floating around in my head from day to day. As someone who loves to talk things through, it’s great to be able to post about my musings and try to make sense of them in the process. The kind of thoughts that crop up on long journeys with loved ones or when you’re walking home and have run out of battery…
One such musing I’ve had on my mind a lot lately is happiness and all that I think I know about it thus far in my short life.
Someone cleverer than me once said ‘Don’t compare your journey with someone else’s middle’ and I remind myself of those wise words every time I feel a pang of envy. With the blogging industry and social media culture, it’s so easy to feel like you’re falling behind or missing out. Whether it’s the nagging feeling that you’re a loser for staying in on a Saturday night, or you’re scrolling through someones Instagram feed who’s in the Maldives with their BFF’s all looking like models in their high-end designer bikinis… FOMO is the worst.
For me, shaking off that FOMO is something that’s happened gradually as I’ve grown more comfortable in my own skin and content with who I am and what I’m about. It still crops up from time to time, usually when I’ve neglected myself and feel run down. It’s a dangerous game, holding your life up next to someone else’s and wanting what they have, and we’re all guilty of it. The best thing you can do is remind yourself that someone somewhere will be coveting your life in that way, so keep your chin up and focus on your own goals. I think it’s worth adding that almost all of the best times I’ve had, never make it online- remember it’s when people aren’t snapping and posting that they’re having the most fun…
Taking time out for myself isn’t something I struggle with often to be honest, but I’m constantly nagging those around me for taking on too much and running themselves into the ground. I make pamper time a regular priority and if there’s something I really want, I have no problem with treating myself (as long as I stick to my savings plan). In my mind, life is too short. If I can afford it and I really want it, nobody else is going to get it for me so why not?
On the other hand, I take weeks to make a doctors appointment, definitely do not do enough exercise and never drink enough water. But I insist on getting enough sleep and I’m usually pretty good at eating my greens so… swings and roundabouts. When I take the time to get into an exercise routine I feel 10 x better about myself and I find sticking to a low carb diet makes me feel energised and at my healthiest, so I strive for this everyday. I think its really important to treat yourself well, in whatever way makes you happy. I’m not suggesting you sack off everyone in your life all the time, but don’t feel guilty for saying no to that party in favour of a bath, a browse on ASOS and an early night when you’ve had a hectic week.
Find Your Thing
Finding ‘your thing’ can change your life and give you endless confidence. Whether this means finding a career where you’re ‘in your flow’ or a hobby you just can’t stop thinking about. I have a few things which come in and out of favour in cycles. Blogging has been a pretty consistent hobby of mine for the past couple of years though, and it’s already given me so much. It’s a huge help in my career, I’ve met some of the most gorgeous people and its a pleasure to have an online diary of all the amazing places I’ve been and life experiences I don’t want to forget.
For anyone still looking for their ‘thing’, get back in touch with what you like, and if there’s something you’re unsure of, give it a try and a fair chance. You’re not going to know if a class is right for you from reading a short summary of it on some shite website. Go, on your own, talk to people there and keep going until you either love it or hate it. Ditch it if you hate it and try something else.
Find Your People
I could write a whole other post about my thoughts on friendships (and maybe I will), but it boils down to this- if you leave someone feeling shitty and down on yourself, don’t be a glutton for punishment. Whilst it’s just as important not to expect too much from friendships (a recipe for disaster), life is too short for spending time with people who make you feel like crap.
Making new friends as an adult is a lot harder than it was back when you could loan someone your scented gel pens and instantly become BFF’s. But even nipping out for lunch with like-minded work colleagues can turn into genuine friendships, and pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone to talk to people at that class/event or even on social media is always a good way to start and can spark unexpected friendships. You can never know too many people, and you can never have too many good friends.
Be kind to your future self. I have no idea where I read this quote but it was sometime in my final year at uni, and it has stuck with me. I’m quite lazy, but also quite an anxious person. Often a toxic combination when I would leave important things to the last minute and feel horribly stressed about it. I now live by my lists and notes, and don’t leave much to chance. Getting into the habit of writing everything down that you want to achieve in the week ahead, and then re-writing the list in order of priority (on which days you need to complete which tasks) could change your life if you’re a disorganised mess at heart, like me.
Further top tips for organisation are: spending a little time each day to keep on top of life admin, checking you’ve replied to all friends and family’s messages before going to bed each night, setting up daily (or weekly) text message alerts with your bank balance, doing all washing up and unloading/re-loading the dishwasher immediately after eating, batch cooking and preparing meals 3 days at a time, get and use a meal planning board then do an online food shop accordingly and finally, setting monthly goals for yourself then breaking them down into daily/weekly actions to include in your to-do lists. For instance, I want to get up at 6am so that I can either spend an hour blogging or go to the gym. I currently get up at 7:15am and know that my 6am starts will be short-lived unless I ease myself into the change. So, I’ve given myself 5 weeks to reach my target, and I will set my alarm 15 minutes earlier each week until I reach 6am.
I don’t know about you but, I’m not one for dwelling on what others have said or done to me. It’s my own errors of judgement, foot-in-mouth situations and regretful decisions that keep me up at night. I remind myself that whoever was on the receiving end of whatever I’m fretting about, probably hasn’t given it a seconds thought. If it’s something worse, have the difficult conversation, apologise, do whatever it takes for it to sit right on your conscience. It’s often not what you’ve said or done that people remember, but how you’ve made them feel, and if you’ve taken the time to correct any miss-spoken words or miss-interpreted actions, there’s not much else you can do, so forgive yourself and let it go.
I find running through this perspective game in my mind helps to silence the critical voices in my head. Writing it down, I sound a bit mental but I imagine zooming out of my head high above ground and seeing myself as a teeny tiny dot. I think about how this minuscule little ‘problem’ of mine is meaningless and how there’s so much more to think and worry about in the world than that.
Independence, whether you’re in a relationship or not, is a vital ingredient for a happy life, I find. Someone once told me that happiness is an inside job, and ain’t that the truth. It’s never wise to wholly rely on someone else to make and keep you happy.
In my mind, having your own friends, spending some time with your family without your partner there, going on holiday with friends (without your partner), and generally having your own life with plenty of time apart to miss each other is really important for a balanced life and a healthy relationship. Not having to rely on anyone else financially (not partners and not parents) and being comfortable with spending time alone with your own thoughts are two huge lessons everyone should learn. The best relationships spring from not needing someone, but really, really wanting them.
From recent events in my family life, I’ve learnt that everything you thought was for certain can be flipped upside down in an instant. I’ll always have my own money and savings and no matter how much I love and trust my partner, it’s really important to me that I have my own life going on so that if things did go wrong in my relationship, it wouldn’t be my entire life ending with it (despite how bleak it would seem at the time).
It’s too easy to be wanting new stuff all the time and coveting that idyllic lifestyle, particularly when you’re an avid blog consumer. How often do we stop to appreciate all the little luxuries we have? Appreciating the mundane, everyday things that we take for granted, whether it’s being able to contact your loved ones whenever you like, or the feeling of snuggling into soft, clean sheets, is a mood enhancer like no other.
After all, happiness is best achieved when you stop waiting and start appreciating.
Ph. from Wolfcub Chronicles and Pinterest.