• Lexie

The Gentle Pursuit of Happiness

Updated: Oct 13, 2019

“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” John Kabat Zinn

I saw this quote on one of my friend’s Facebook timelines (oh heeeeeeeeeeey Zoë!) and it got me to thinking. Nine little words, perfectly positioned in one insightful sentence, wholeheartedly sums up my attitude towards life. I believe that happiness, for happiness is the thing we all seek, is found in the everyday moments of living; the seemingly humdrum, colourless, mediocre spaces that fill each day. I also believe that there's an art to this way of thinking; it requires an open mind and a receptive soul to be able to find fulfillment in the simple things, especially in this day and age where we are bombarded with bigger, better, shinier, flashier every damn day. Here are a few of my mediocre spaces, just to give you an example of what I mean. I appreciate all these moments of ‘nothing’, because they add up to something much more.

  • Doing a little bit of gardening first thing in the morning, when I let Polly out to do her thing. I like to wander around my garden sniffing the flowers, deadheading, seeing new shoots and buds.

  • Eating juicy, fresh tomatoes straight from the plants I have lovingly grown from seed.

  • Getting back into bed with my dog, sniffing her ears while she licks my cheeks.

  • Watching my nephew while he plays with his cars, talking to himself… and them.

  • The first slice of a red onion, while the pan heats up, anticipating the dinner I’m about to make.

  • Washing up just before I go to bed. I like having a tidy kitchen.

  • Taking Polly for her evening walk, so we can see our friends, canine and human.

  • Ticking things off on my ‘to do’ list.

  • The list goes on…

I’m not sure when exactly the belief that happiness is in the small things set in, but I think it must have been around the time I got myself all ill and stuff, in my mid-twenties. I used to binge watch Sex and the City and in one particular episode Carrie, in all her sagacious glory, whilst on a date with Aiden, says “life is what happens when you’re busy doing other things”. When I heard that, I thought, yeah man… that is IT. At the same time as being obsessed with the thoroughly modern, twenty first century and ever so slightly risqué Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda I was also pretty diverted by nineteenth century Fanny Price, the heroine of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. The quote she uttered, which lodged itself in my heart for evermore was ‘life is a quick succession of busy nothings’. Which, when you think about it, which I have done extensively, is absolutely true.

I live my life at a slow pace, not just because of illness, but because I choose to. I am basically a sloth. Ok, maybe slightly faster than a sloth, but I’m pretty, you know… slothy. Sloth-like. Sloth-acious. Of the sloth genus. In other words I don’t do fast. I’m a homebod, I like being cosy and cocooned and comfy in my own bed, with my own things, with my own home and my own rules. Actually, strike that, I detest rules in any shape or form. If there is a rule imposed I automatically run away from it. I like freedom and to just be. You know? So, back to the quote and the search for happiness. As you know, since January I have been at home, dealing with my health and trying to find a new rhythm for my life, which looks very different from the one I thought I’d have at this stage. It’s not unpleasant… just different from what I thought it would be. I thought to myself, hey Lexie, what can we do to help focus on what it is we’re aiming for now we are aimless? What can we do with our creativity, our craft cupboard, our pens, pencils, scissors, glue and many, many magazines? I know, we can make a Vision Board! And so, we did.

I’d made one once before, a few years ago at a women’s group I tried out, which was short-lived as I’m not a joiner of groups, being the pretty solitary, commitment phobic lady that I am. The group may not have been my thing, but the vision board was right up my street. It’s a really nice way of taking some time out to just think about what it is you want for your life. Visually creative mediation if you wish. You’re not saying it with words, you’re saying it with pictures. Which pleases me as I am highly imaginative… also highly wordy… but a vision board leaves room for interpretation. Like art, its beauty and meaning is in the eyes and soul of the beholder. So, I decided to do an updated vision board, for the life I’m living now and what it is I want for the next six months, which isn’t something I’ve given a lot of thought to for quite some time. I delved into my soul and here, in a nutshell, is what I would like at this stage in my life. These are the things that I will be working towards:

  • My physical and mental health- I’m starting CBT and anxiety therapy very soon, which I hope will help me come to terms with infertility and health issues. I’m also planning on starting some gentle exercise that I can realistically do on a regular basis. I’m not the jumping around getting sweaty, pounding the streets type, it doesn't fill me with endorphins and euphoria like it seems to with everybody else... mainly it leaves me with nausea and vertigo. But there are other ways I can feel fitter and stronger.

  • Veganism- I went vegan in March of this year, but don’t feel as if I’ve fully embraced cooking and exploring this wonderful, soul-happy way of life. So, I’m gonna work on that, because I believe very strongly it's the right path for me and is doing some good for our lovely old world.

  • Polly- she’s my naughty little Cocker Spaniel to those unfamiliar with her. If you are unfamiliar with her, where have you been? Since I’ve been home, she’s developed separation anxiety and is quite reactive when she’s nervous, so I’ve been working really hard with her, doing training, reading books and watching YouTube vids, to help her feel more secure.

  • Paying it Forward- this is something I’ve spoken about previously and I want to continue. I’m limited in lots of ways, but when I am feeling well and have money in my pocket I can do litter picks, walk my friends’ dogs, generally help people where I can, offer my knowledge and skills to those who need them, buy things for the Food Bank… just, you know, do my bit.

  • More writing- I like writing, I really, really do. So, I need to do more.

This being my vision board, it’s obviously filled with flowers, gardens, greenery and all sorts of natural things. The sea plays a large part as I am a seaside girl through and through. But there’s one thing that I put on the board, but then took off again and that thing is LOVE. As in romantic love. Now don’t be sad for me, it’s ok. Love is something I will work towards on another board. But for now, I have so much going on and so many other things to work on that I don’t feel ready for love just yet. That’s partly to do with infertility, I can’t lie… like, who would want to go out with me when I have nothing to offer, not even children? It’s just too much for me to deal with or hope for right now. I'm a bit too messy to involve anyone else in my life. But let’s give it time eh? I’m a work in progress after all and anything can happen when you’re busy doing other things.

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