Sometimes it takes someone else’s life completely falling apart to remember how good you have it. How awful is that? But life is not like a romantic novel when every time you look at someone you love your heart swells with joy. Occasionally your heart swells with being pissed off at them, you just wonder why they are acting so weird.
And then you speak to someone who has lost what you have and you kick yourself for not spending every second together gazing fondly at your family and laughing gaily with them. As if life works that way.
When your brain works the way mine does, you plan, you worry, you always look ahead. But this weekend a big piece of bad news from a close friend really brought home how important it is to live in the now.
I sat in the garden for the first time this year, the warm sun shining down on my head, (finally!) the chilly breeze still forcing me to sit in my coat, and took the time to contemplate how perfect life is at the moment. I have my fiance, our beautiful cats, our own home, and plenty of exciting events coming up this year to share with friends and family. The flowers are coming out again in my muddy slope of a garden. My social life is booming after years of living in this small town we decided to call home. My exercise regime is finally showing results. I’m a confident, somewhat smart, competent adult.
Life is good! And it’s time to share that feeling.
So, if you are depressed or frustrated, feeling like you’re not moving forward and you’re nowhere close to achieving your goals, just take a good 10 minutes to sit somewhere warm- your bed, the bath, the sunny garden if you’re lucky- and think about the things that are going well in your life. No one’s life is perfect, but when you think about how bad life could be- relationship down the toilet, homeless, bankrupt, terminally ill (not that my friend is, but just think) it hits home how important it is to value what you have, and how lucky you really are.
If you do this regularly, and I will practise along with you, you will naturally be happier I promise. And I don’t mean that in a ‘oh just settle for what you have, accept this is what your life is, suck it up and smile’ kind of way. I mean, aim high but remember where you are now and take pleasure in it because one day you may not have it, either because you have moved beyond it to even greater joy and you want to reminisce fondly on what you built your new life on, or because you have lost it and realised too late that those were the best days of your life.
Now, my advice to those who struggle with this. To those people that only get upset thinking about friends and family, relationships, money. You can do this too. It may be harder to be positive but it is important for your mental well-being. It might help to make a list of the things you are good at, or the things you would take with you to a desert island. Remember what is important to you, remember your own value, make a list of your favourite places, your favourite songs, the things that make you you and smile. Surround yourself with positive things and people and think about how you’re not dead in a hole.