I never before realised how terribly sad Butterflies
Is it shopping?
Is it eating?
Is it drinking?
Could cause trouble
Is it twinkling lights
Make me smile
A silly hat
That is me
My favourite song
A new dress
Is it family
The people you love
Seems like a sprint sometimes, time goes by so quickly, but the thing is what is the finishing line ? What are we all rushing to do? People say you slow up as you get older but the thing with time, as you get older, it goes faster, the year starts and before you know it the Christmas adverts are back, oh so jolly, on the television (seriously, five weeks and we will be back there again, joy) and you think… where did that go, what did I do? Nothing, usually, just the same old thing.
Should life be endured, probably not, it should be celebrated, doesn’t last that long after all, but seemingly we turn it into that race, the rat race, house, cars, new clothes, all pretty soul destroying, ephemeral and meaningless and what we all seem to value most. You buy something, and then feel the need to buy something else. Buy a dress and you need the shoes and bag to match. Decorate one room in your house and then you have to do the whole lot, then the house is not good enough so bigger and better. We are all striving – for things.
We go off to the supermarket and fill our trolleys, throw maybe one third of it away when there are children starving in the world. We worry about some lump of metal passing an MOT test, let that fill our minds with dread when mothers all over the country have sons in Afghanistan and really do have something to dread and fear.
We are seduced by the pretty pictures in the magazines and on the television, and want and want. Some people make themselves miserable by not having, thinking they can only be happy if they have. When if they stopped wanting, they would be happier.
Life is what you make it and just look what we have made it …
Instead of a gentle jog we had made it an endurance race – work more, earn more, buy more…
When someone dies
And you are sad
People say you should
Be glad, for the person you knew
They try to make
That is not all over, and
The person you loved
Has just popped into the next room
When the truth is,
This room where they are
Is too far away
You can’t touch them
You can’t see them
And you can’t hear what they have to say
You don’t believe it for a while
Whether expected or sudden
It takes your breath away
And you miss them
And are angry
You think of the good times, and
So when someone you love
Don’t try to forget
Don’t try to be brave,
the tears may not be so raw
You may not want to howl
And you will come to see
The person you love
so much, is
Really not in that far away room
Where they were,
in your heart
Happiness. I just looked it up on the thesaurus and it listed contentment, pleasure, fulfilment, approval, agreement and liking; and I am sitting here thinking: that is a few and, quite frankly, a couple would do me – for most of us, I suppose.
The thing about happiness is that it’s something most of us aspire to – think we have a right to – when, half the time, if you said to us, “What would make you happy?” we really couldn’t answer. Oh, we could say winning the lottery, being half a stone thinner, buying that £150 dress in John Lewis – oh, and finish it off with a date with Philip Glennister and we would be in seventh heaven (forget the seven rings of hell, we are talking happiness here). So here’s the thing (xx), actually losing the seven pounds in weight – although really good and, yes, it gives a bit of a glow – it doesn’t last. Buying THAT dress – well I haven’t done that yet, but I can imagine walking out of John Lewis swinging that bag. And the date with Philip Glennister? Seriously, only in my dreams; but that would be some dream…
Oh, I’ve got to stop and think about that for a minute. So it’s me in the dress that I can now fit into on a hot date with Philip Glennister… A nice little fantasy, and that is really the thing.
Most of us are not going to get what we think will make us happy. Probably just as well because, in truth, it wouldn’t work anyway.
In my little land, happiness is made up of lots of little things, and really the little things are the best. A good book, seeing the sheep in the field when I am on the train every morning, miserable Dave at work not being miserable and opening the bloody door for me when it is pouring down with rain, the man in the shop calling me “young lady”, a text from my daughter just saying “love you mum xxx”, sitting next to my lovely Bhavika at work, the man at the station walking past me and then turning round to smile at me that day (god, that was ages ago and I still smile about that), Whitney Houston wailing away in my kitchen when I am making a cake. None of those actually cost anything – okay the CD, the book, the cake ingredients and the bun from the “young lady” man” – but they are some of my little grains of happiness. And, of course, Strictly Come Dancing – but that gets me into trouble…
That to me is what happiness is, lots of little grains of sand. Imagine you are on the beach with those little grains and, if you’re really lucky, you may have some big grains: you might be happily married, you might just really love your job – you might not have either but there will be SOMETHING that makes you smile – you might not have to worry about money, you might be a size 8 and look like Jennifer Anniston (I will try to like you) and so, as we go through life, we build our sandcastles. You might have an average size sandcastle, work not too bad but home is maybe not so good or vice versa, and your circumstances might change so that sandcastle might get a bit bigger or, for some of us, now and again it might be a bit smaller – and there are always those up the beach with the supersized castle and, guess what, they are flying flags. But we won’t worry about them because that truly is the path to bitterness and misery and she might look like a model, not have to work, and be able spend £3,000 in an afternoon on designer clobber, but he might be a wife beater and horrible to live with – you never know, her castle might be all show. So we are building that, for most of us, average-sized sandcastle and doing our best to make it better and then, sometimes, on that beach there will be some waves: little ones that we see coming and can deal with; big ones that, again, we see coming and brace ourselves for, which might slightly mar our sandcastle; and then, of course, the tsunami – you didn’t see that coming and, guess what, you are flattened. The sun’s out, but you are in those shadows and you maybe think that is where you will stay. But the beach doesn’t ever run out of sand and you start, maybe ever so slowly, but you do start with the little grains of sand again and that castle will start growing.
I think that, if you expect to be permanently happy, you may be disappointed. If you think you have a right to be happy… well, think on. Material possessions might salve that ache inside for a while but they are just a sticking plaster. Happiness is really not something you can acquire, it’s how you feel, it’s what you take from life and what you give and how you deal with the waves. So try to see the grains, and build that sandcastle and hope you don’t get walloped by a tsunami and you never know…
Life is not “what it is” – it is what you have the ability to make it. Happiness comes from within, not from the shops