What does happiness mean to you?

It’s a genuine question. Not just a title.

I’ve just seen an advert on the TV which opened with this line- “What does happiness mean to you?” 

It got me thinking- how can that question be so hard? Why does this crazy world with its bills, deadlines, work and stresses mean that such a tiny little question is so difficult to answer? For me, the meaning of happiness has changed throughout my whole life.

As a child, happiness meant getting a lead part in a school show, being the best in my dance class, getting the highest grades. As I grew into adolescence, it meant having a good group of friends, a boyfriend, a university plan. Now that I’m coming to the end of my education, I can’t seem to find what it means anymore. 

I go between happiness=successful career one day to happiness=travelling the world and feeling content the next day. Money is key to happiness in one thought whilst it has no relation to it in the next. 

So. How do you discover what happiness means to you? Is it the success, the career, the education and grades? Is it travelling the world, not caring where your next meal comes from? Is it having someone to love and knowing they love you equally and always? Or is it just not caring? Living life as it goes along, one step at a time.


Week Four: A Breath of Fresh Air


Fresh air. Seems silly to spend even a second thinking about the concept of fresh air, considering it’s around us every time we step out of the house or open the window. We breathe it in without thinking.

But how often do we really breathe? How often do we take an enormous gulp of untouched, cold, fresh air and truly breathe?

This week’s learning to be a child challenge was quite simple. I learnt the importance of fresh air and breathing. I wrapped up warm, travelled to the nearest coastal path and walked. And I kept on walking. Through woodland, up hills, along the beach and back again. Breathing in this beautiful, refreshing, satisfying fresh air with each and every step.

We all rush about, looking after our family, going to work, running errands, that we never take that minute to appreciate the value of what is right outside and around us. It’s drummed into us that children need fresh air so why not us as adults too?

So next time you take a step outside, stop for a second and breathe in the fresh air. 

The smile of a gentleman

It’s funny, reflecting and changing can do a lot. Like today. A comment on this blog spoke of maintaining your inner child no matter what your age. And I saw a gentleman today whose done just that.

He was elderly and yet when he looked at his wife, I saw a smitten seventeen year old. And it made me wonder, do some of us never grow up? Do some of us forget our childhood before we’ve even lived it?

Life is short. We all know that. Every time we turn on the TV or open the newspaper, there are more stories of the harsh realities of the adult world.

So why do we rush the world of youth and childhood?

Why did I rush it? Everything grown up was exciting, independent and it opened up all the opportunities I’ve ever dreamed of so I wished my childhood away like so many of us do when we reach the teenage phase. Adulthood is this adventurous, golden goal where we can ditch our parents and start our own lives. And yes the opportunities are endless when we reach that magical age of 18.

But what use are opportunities if our minds are too ‘grown up’ to truly see them? Shouldn’t we all take a step back, stop reading articles of debt, stop (just for a second) worrying about bills and other ‘adult’ things we so wished to be able to worry about in our childhood? Shouldn’t we take that step back and not just praise those who grew up too fast to earn the money, speed through life at a crazy pace in the office and look instead towards the affectionately smiling elderly gentlemen like the one I saw today?

Why not praise him for doing one of the hardest things I think possible? Not working 24/7 at the office, not becoming the next rich entrepreneur. But making it all the way through life to an older age and still looking at his wife like he did when he was a teenager.

Yes, I know praise is due to those who have worked hard to make fortunes and grown up quick to do so. But let’s not forget those who have done something I can only dream of being successful at- maintaining that youth throughout my life, maintaining that childhood.

Sometimes when we are young, we feel being an adult means we will be able to think more clearly and in a ‘grown up’ fashion.

But what if the most clear way of thinking is by thinking through the mind of a child when the daily grind has not clouded our vision, the daily news of turmoil has not dampened our spirit and our dreams for the future have not been filed behind our gas bill?

That is the clearest way to think and I only dream of achieving it one day.