Happiness and its pursuit seems to be preoccupying my time lately as I seek to establish a lifestyle that better suits my needs. Is it something you do as well?
Fabrice Muamba announced his retirement from professional football recently. You may remember just how shattering it was to watch a very young, super fit man die on the pitch and I imagine being dead for a few hours would severely reduce your chances of returning to the Premier League. Nevertheless, it’s great that he’s alive and well and has a chance to enjoy life. This event was a catalyst for me: it reaffirmed my commitment to try to seek out the happiness in my life for there’s no guarantee of tomorrow.
Today I listened to the first episode of Aussie singer-songwriter Clare Bowditch’s Winter Happiness Summit, a series of conversations about happiness and creativity and inspiration. Missy Higgins was her first guest, and it was a really interesting conversation, one that struck numerous cords as someone who is actively seeking happiness in my own life.
Everyone has something to tell you about these days, and Clare does have a new album coming out, but I thought the Winter Happiness Summit was a really clever way to engage with people and provide them with value for their everyday lives. What I love about Clare Bowditch is that she’s real. She’s all about human struggles, addictions, frailties, experiences. Personally, I really respond to people who explore the human condition, and those who promote acceptance and improvement. And Clare hits a home run with the Happiness Summit.
Here’s a few interesting insights I took from the first discussion with Missy Higgins:
You can’t suddenly unlock the key to happiness and just be happy in it. It’s an ongoing checking-in and tuning-in to what feels right for you.
I like this, because I’ve lost count the number of times I thought I was seeking I thought would make me happy, only to realise that what I really wanted was something different all along.
Some of the hardest conversations are with the people you know the best.
Aren’t they! But they’re also some of the most important.
Is happiness harder to come by in winter?
I think so. I have always felt the winter blues acutely. I can’t remember a winter season without experiencing (what I think is) SAD — seasonal affective disorder. If I could chase summer around the world, I would!
Searching for happiness is not self-indulgent. It’s unselfish.
“You deserve happiness. Everybody does… the world would be a must better place if everyone sought happiness, followed their heart.”
There’s always that part of my mind that reminds me that actively seeking to make myself happy is selfish and “wanky”, to use Clare’s word of choice. But I can’t see that seeking out pain, suffering and hurt is really the best use of our time here. There will always be those elements present in our lives at various stages, and I think that’s what makes the happy parts of life so much sweeter.
“Nothing you want is upstream.” — release your grip and go where the river takes you. It’s not always hard.
I am choosing happiness. I hope you will, too.
Sign up for Clare’s mailing list here. You’ll receive the secret code to the listen to the Winter Happiness Summit conversations in an email. I highly recommend it. Gotye will be her next guest!