It was 6am last Saturday and as my brain slowly began to come to life a thought formed. I’m 41 years old. Now I’m not at all fussed about my age, in fact I’m loving my 40s! But what I did realise was this – I’m probably more or less half way through my life.
And whilst that thought could have depressed me it actually had the opposite effect.
It made me realise that I love life. And in particular I love my life. Because over the last 41 years I have learnt so much about life, the result of which is I am happy every day.
The big things make me happy, but even if shit is happening I’m now able to make myself happy by hunting out small things. Stuff like a bird singing, the sun rising or setting, the smell of my freshly baked bread. (Lots of these you can see me document day in day out on Instagram as I can never get enough of them.)
So anyway there I was, lying in bed and thinking these very deep philosophical thoughts and it came to me.
Not everyone sees life this way. Not everyone can find the good, can see the happy.
Which is why I want to share with you the 5 most important things you need to know about life 🙂
You can watch the video, listen to the podcast (it’ll be in the iTunes library soon too) or read the blog post below…
Listen to the audio or download the audio file:
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1) Be You
We spend our early years being 100% ourselves, it never even enters our minds to be anyone but ourselves. But over time, we get criticised for being who we are. We are told “don’t do that!” or “don’t be like that!” And little by little we change, and we conform to how others want us to be.
But you know what?
You were made unique for a fantastic reason – because the world needs different people. So rejoice in your youness. Be you and never apologise for it.
2) Live every day
How many times have you said “I can’t wait till the weekend” or “7 more sleeps until I go on holiday” or “when the kids are older I’ll…” or “when I retire I’ll…”?
We spend so much of our lives waiting. Waiting to live. And not noticing the life that is happening around us.
You might say that it’s easy for me because I live on a tropical island. And yes it does make it easier to live every day. But even when I lived in London, doing my daily commute I lived by this rule.
I would relish the fresh air on my face as I walked to the station every morning, hand in hand with Ben. My eyes would light up at the sight of autumn leaves and spring blossoms on the trees.
Even as I shoved my body into a packed train or tube carriage I would be grateful for the inventors of the Kindle. I only needed one hand to hold it and turn the page, so I could easily hold on to the pole, to stop myself from falling.
I loved walking into the Marks & Spencer’s opposite my office and choosing what to have for lunch.
And so on and so forth.
Yes, shit stuff happened to me too. Of course it did.
Like the time it was snowing and I slipped and fell on my arse on the way to the station. Hurting my tailbone and my pride simultaneously.
Or the times the tubes weren’t running and the queue to get onto a train snaked out of the station.
It wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns.
But each time I chose to live in the now, and appreciate all that was good.
I love weekends and holidays. But ever since my first proper job out of university that I hated with a vengeance. The job that had me counting down the years to my retirement. Ever since then I’ve done my best to make sure that my every day work and life makes me happy.
So remember to live every day, and if you can’t then maybe it’s time to rethink your every day.
3) Not everyone is nice all the time
Hopefully you are surrounded by people who love you and want the best for you. But there will be times when someone is rude to you, when someone hurts you. And you have to remember that not everyone is nice all the time.
We all have bad days. We all get jealous. And when we do we tend to take it out on others.
So how do you deal with this?
If it’s a one-off from that person then write it off as a bad day.
If a particular person is nasty most of the time then keep a safe distance. Avoid / unfriend / unfollow wherever possible.
And remember that you do it too. So stop and look at your own words and actions, and reign yourself in if you catch yourself in bad behaviour.
As Thumper says in Bambi “if you can’t something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all“. Which is good for our kids, but good for us too.
4) Life is short and fragile
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You already know this one. You’ve heard it time and time again. You only live once etc etc.
But are you actually living your life with this in mind?
Is your life perfect in every way and does it make your heart sing?
If not, what could you change to make yourself happier?
It doesn’t have to be a huge upheaval. Two of the smallest changes I made have brought about the biggest differences in my life:
- spending less money on crap and hiring a cleaner instead
- getting up half an hour earlier so I’m more chilled for the whole day ahead
I’m not saying chuck in your job and move to India to help street kids (unless that’s what you really really want!).
But do have a think – what DOESN’T work for you now? How can you turn that around to make it work better for you? To make you happier and to make your life more enjoyable?
5) Trust your gut
You can analyse and turn things around and chew things over as much as you want. But 9 times out of 10 it’s your instinct that is right.
When I’ve made mistakes in the past it’s because I’ve ignored my gut. When things have worked out perfectly it’s always been when I’ve trusted my instinct. Even when it’s meant doing away with “sensible” reasoning.
It’s not easy first of all as we no longer recognise our gut telling us something. So try it out each time you have a decision to make. From the small ones like “what shall I have for dinner?” to the big ones such as “should I quit my job and travel the world?”
When I met Ben my decision to get into a relationship with him was purely based on my gut. In my right mind I should have run a mile. I’d just been left by my long-term boyfriend for his colleague. A mere 3 months later I met Ben in a bar, when I was drunk. And as I found out a few days later he had a girlfriend.
My sensible head was yelling “RUN!”
But my gut was saying “he’s your soulmate, this is right, he is the one”.
I trusted my instinct and 3 months after we met we moved in together, and 6 months after we met we got engaged.
More recently, when Ben and I were still in London, we were looking at places to move to. We had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world with good internet access. It was exciting and daunting in equal measures.
We’d been looking at various places in the UK first of all – maybe somewhere near the beach for example. Then one day Ben turned to me and said “how about Mauritius?” my immediate response was “hell yeah!”.
Obviously you also need to do your research before taking any major decisions (like marrying a man you recently met or moving to an island in the Indian Ocean!). BUT listen to what your instinct is telling you and don’t dismiss it out of hand.
If you struggle with the whole “live your life every day”, or if you feel like your life could be better, then grab my 10 day guide to falling (back) in love with your life.
You get 10 easy to digest daily emails with tasks and exercises that are simple to put into place, to bring about quick results in your everyday life.
Have a great day! And don’t forget to open your eyes to all the incredible stuff that is around you 🙂
P.S. if you have friends, family or colleagues who are struggling with finding happiness in this thing called life, please share this post.
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