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If you’re happy and you know it…

There’s a saying about happiness. It goes: Happiness is the man who was looking for his hat and found that it was on his head all along.

When I first heard it, it made my heart soften and go ‘aaah’ but then a sort of alarm took over. Because it was suddenly clear that the happiness I got out of hoping, praying, wishing things will be better in the future was in itself deep unhappiness.

The suggestion that happiness is in the here and now seems like a Mount Everest challenge to concentrate and find happiness in the present moment. Where is it? Is it here now? Then why is my heart squashed and crumpled with fear and anxiety – is there happiness in letting go of this? Can I really let go of all my ‘If only’s’ and wistful gazes away and embrace my warty, imperfect present happiness?

David Cameron et al are currently prancing about the idea of a Happiness Index  whereby Britain’s level of happiness is measured in some wooly way involving voluntary groups, reiterations of the words ‘Big Society’ and lots of clapping and meetings in church halls or whatever.

My efforts would certainly add a smile to Cameron’s red, elasticated face because I’ve been fulfilling his credo of becoming an upright citizen by volunteering and throwing myself into the harangue – I’ve signed myself up for various things of late, including the role of voluntary Development Ambassador which sounds great but I’m not entirely sure what it actually means. I think I’ve also signed up for some sort of assistant cake maker role, which could have been one of those spur-of-the-moment-when-slightly-inebriated decisions since the closest I’ve come to making a cake was when I accidentally left my trainers next to the radiator for two months. The reason I’m doing this malarkey is because I’m making an effort to become happier – the thing is it hasn’t quite worked yet.

I stunned myself when I asked that question and forced myself to be frank. Are you happy? I asked. ‘No” was the immediate and unfaltering answer. I didn’t even have to think about it. Frickin’ hell, I thought. This is worse than previously assumed. But hey, my brain reasons, you’ve had a rough time of it of late, it’s ok to be unhappy. Work isn’t great. My love life is like a drunk driver on the M25 taking random swerves, having near misses and periodically ramming into stationary objects with the airbag having long given up trying. I suppose since coming back from my travels in India, life in England feels like a long, stale fart – an anticlimax, an act of simply treading water.

Don’t we just love finding comfort and salvation in our unhappiness. It’s like a smelly blanket we wrap around ourselves, pretending to complain but really loving the scratchy feel against our skin, because it’s something. It’s there, it’s tangible and we can touch it. Unhappiness is always attainable. Happiness- well there’s the effort. There’s the change in the way of thinking, feeling, being.

I still don’t know how to answer the question about happiness. But I feel it inside me. I know it’s there because it is the delicious mischief of this world. As long as you can still smile at two pigeons having a little domestic on the pavement or at the evening sky that makes you stop in your tracks on the way home or how your sweet pancakes have somehow ended up tasting of anchovies, you can see the universe that is behind our small lives, that is not taking life as seriously as we are. And when you suddenly come right into tune with that energy, well then you are right in the music.

That’s when I know that it’s there all along. It is the invisible hat and it is resisting the wind, no matter how much of a hurricane my mind is conjuring up.

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Posted by on April 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Oh the banality…

I’d like to find out if anyone else has this problem – when I have to pick up the phone and dial the number for British Gas, when I have to check my council tax records, when I have to take my lap top to PC World to be repaired, my soul curls up and weeps. It rocks itself in a corner with its hands over it’s ears, eyes tightly shut going ‘Not this. Not this. Not this…”

That might sound a bit melodramatic but I despite, loathe and inherently hate doing those things with every muster of my being – my body literally rejects the sight of an electricity bill, I’m sure my eyes just block it out to save my soul the damage. My kind eyes will place something far more calming instead in front of me, like a book about horror film villains or a plate full of cheese. Then my soul will lift it’s head up, sniff the air and smile, getting up from it’s corner and gazing into the pleasures and beauty of the world.

I know I’m not alone in hating bills, broken things, post office slips, insurance forms and anyone with the word ‘tele’ in their job title. They basically stand for a reminder that life is full of boring shit that needs to be done so that you can carry on doing the fun shit. But it’s the time factor. When I spend 15 minutes on the phone with a BT operator, I have lost my time on this insanely mundane and irreprehensible task of having to tell them my date of birth, security password, name of mother’s first goat blah blah fucking blah.

I am incredibly possessive over my time. Giving 15 minutes of it to Ed the chirpy Kiwi BT worker makes me angry because it reminds me that there isn’t a lot of this time. This earth won’t grant me long and being talked through the problems with my modem remind me that a certain percentage of our lives have to be dedicated to monotiny. It just has to.

So I have three options:

  • Get super rich and pay someone to do those things for me while I’m busy having a torrid affair with an Argentinian soap star
  • Marry a data processor who loves all things utility and is one of those unimaginable weirdos who keeps files of old bills for record
  • Run away to live among field mice.

Any other recommendations welcome.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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