You have to work on being happy. It doesn't just occur.
The other morning, I asked my mum how she was. She said she was ok, at least she was working at being ok. That got me thinking. It's not just about working on being ok, it’s also working on being happy.
At 87, the last 2 years have been hard for her. Dealing with the effects of a long-term, chronic, illness. Not seeing family or friends. Her social circle rapidly decreasing as friends sadly pass away. And a fall that caused a fracture in her spine. If that was not enough her memory is now starting to play tricks on her. Enough to make anyone feel that they don’t have to be ok. But she continues to actively work on being not just ok, but happy. Mum says, “why be miserable, it doesn’t help”. One of her positive decisions is not to attend any more funerals.
Sadly, I had to attend the funeral of a friend recently. I say sadly, what I should say was that I marked the passing of someone who it had been a pleasure to know. He had the same joy and zest for life that I do. His son said that his dad had always picked himself up, dusted himself down, and move on to new things when he hit a bump in the road. A valuable lesson that he had passed on to his son, and me too.
Now in my midlife, I am beginning to understand what happiness means. It's not so much laughing during a good night out, though that helps. We don’t have a right to be happy. Being happy is a choice. A positive choice. Like my mum continues to do close to 90, you have to work on yourself, work to be ok and work to be happy. Sometimes its hard to do.
We acknowledge sadness, grief, serious issues, and so on. Life can feel cruel at times. But we let those negative emotions define us at our peril. I don't let my negativity shape my days, weeks, or life. While acknowledging life's difficulties and trauma, I make sure that I also acknowledge life's gifts. Gifts we can easily take for granted like health, friends, security, and beauty around us. Yes, I have my fair share of serious issues too. But I work at solving them, sometimes by myself, sometimes with friends, families and quite often with complete strangers. I also make sure that each day I take a moment to look for the positives and thank the Universe for the wonderful things and people around me. Take a moment to think about and write down all the positive things in your life. Do the same with the negatives. What do you see?
It's also why I am doing what I now do. I have my own lived experience and found what works for me (including drawing on the energy and wisdom of others). I work on myself, work to be not just ok but happy, and actively grow my zest for life. It's why I became a life coach and co-founded Third Quarter Tribe, to help others do the same. We don’t judge, we empathise, and then we co-create new futures with you. Your experience is the foundation for going forward but it does not men you cannot change direction. Leave behind old ways. Embrace newness and difference. Your dreams, ideas and energy are what should guide you to move forward, not bitterness, tiredness and hurt. Working on making those dreams and ideas a reality will help you build a positive future.
That can be a daunting thought. Change. Dreams. Especially as you get older. But we help you start. And there are things you can do. RIGHT NOW. Recognise that YOU need to look after YOU. Second recognise that happiness is a choice. Third, activley work on being happy. Everyday. Choose to face each day with positivity. Choose to find happiness. Work at it. Relentlessly. It might mean change. A new job, house, health routine. That's up to you to decide.
Not easy we know, and often we can all do with a little help. We use lots of people to help us sort out issues. From the doctor, the shop assistant, a plumber, a stranger on Facebook, or from friends and family. This also means that we all could do with a little help in working on being ok, being happy. That’s where we come in. We are non-judgemental, neutral, and can help you sort things out, to move forward. And we know - we've been there.
As my friend Iain used to say – “pick yourself up, dust yourself down, start again”. Third Quarter Tribe is here to help you do just that. firstname.lastname@example.org