It’s getting nearer to May every day, isn’t it? This May is a big month for me… one of those birthdays with an 0 at the end, and I don’t mean 40.
Yes, that’s right. I turn 50 in roughly 4 weeks time. 50 the same year as Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, although sadly they are both slightly younger than I am. Hugh Jackman, Naomi Watts, Daniel Craig… we all hit half a century during 2018. I was talking to a friend who said she had found turning 40 incredibly easy: she just woke up, celebrated her birthday and got on with life, but that 50 had seemed like an incredible event, a real call-to-arms for her.
I’m not convinced my 50th will be that big a shock to me. I’ve never tried to be younger than I am, and I’ve not been aware of the hands of time knocking any harder at my door. Mortality is a very real issue for all of us, but whether that’s aged 4 in a cancer ward or 84 in bed at home, we none of us know the moment. Cheerful thoughts for a Wednesday morning.
If you ask me when have I felt happiest, well, I’d have to say now. I have a good job that I enjoy, time to write and people to share my life with. I have three offspring who grow more into adulthood every day. I have a partner who, even after 25 years, makes me laugh with humour and sigh in pleasure. I have enough health to do what I want to do and enough wits to want to improve that health.
Am I ecstatic all the time? No, and I wouldn’t want to be. I’m happy, though, most of the time and all of the time I am content with what I have. I feel so lucky to have got through a dark area in my life a couple of years ago and into a more fruitful, happier place. I hate seeing people feel dismal. I want them to feel better. I want to help them improve their lives. I hope living hyggely helps them, and that one step at a time they find their own point of happiness.
Over tha last two years of working for Peter, I’ve had time to think about happiness, and about how I dug my way out of the darkest moments. I know for many the pit of despair seems bottomless, and that there’s no way out, but there is. For some people, that exit comes through pills and treatment, and will need referral from the doctors to get it underway.
For many, though, there are a host of small things that we can do to boost happiness. Hygge is an ideal example: taking a moment to drink and eat a cake with a friend and, in that moment, to breathe and think ‘I am happy: just at this moment I am content’. Looking for the small things that please you, noticing the moments that make you smile and feeling gratitude for those little moments builds up your happiness store. Likewise, learning to quiet the voice in your head that puts you down, learning to reframe problems as puzzles, growing your confidence all boost happiness.
I’ve had a good few months thinking about happiness now. In search of my next book, I decided to write about what has made me happier. I’ve looked at what made me sad, what I did to help myself, what other people did for me and I’ve put it all in a book. It’s available from Monday on Amazon. It’s called, quite simply, Happier. I look at the main areas of my life and how I found the ways to make them happier. Sometimes that was by adding something, but more often than not my happiness came by stripping away. By losing society’s expectations, by really looking at what I wanted for me or my children, by setting simple terms for my house, my clothes, my activities.
I also found happiness in doing something for a purpose: losing the TV watching and replacing it with crafts or learning, helping others and finding that helped me. I hope the book has something to help everybody become happier. It’s not preachy (Lord help me when I start to preach!!) and it’s not high-falutin’. It’s a simple woman looking at ways to simplify life and gain happiness.
And of course my old books are also available, on Amazon. How to Hygge Your Summer, in Paperback and Kindle form, has lots of good ideas for the months ahead. Hygge is an all-year-round feeling, you see. 50 Ways to Hygge the British Way is available in Paperback and Kindle version and Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas was released in September 2017 and is available again in paperback and ebook version.
If you purchase anything through the links on this page, I get a couple of pence extra per copy, and if you’ve already read my books and enjoyed them, please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.
****How to Hygge the British Way Blog isn’t monetised. I have taken the decision that I want to remain neutral and not to promote things just because. I will only ever review items that I have bought myself, or that I think will help to promote hygge in a busy life. To do this, I need support. Even just the price of a coffee adds up to a book over time, and it means I can stay independent. Would you help?
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