When I was in my late teens I had a long list of wishes and goals. Whenever I looked at them I sighed with anticipation and joy! Oh, how absolutely wonderfully happy I would be once I started ticking them off one by one as I achieved and acquired them!
I held on to my happiness -holding it hostage almost – refusing to be 100% ecstatic with my life as it was then. I chose to cling to the belief that ecstatic was for when you graduated, got the job, got married, had babies, launched the book –often in that order.
You had no right to be smilingly happy until that list got started.
I don’t know whether it was youth or denial or stupidity or all three but I refused to think there was another way.
So the list:
Go to university (done)
Get the job (done)
Have fun with marriage proposals until the right one comes along (many but one was more promising so done and done)
Move abroad (done)
Complete a writing course (well…..this one never gets done)
So did these things increase my happiness?
Yes. They did. For the most part.
But they all came wrapped in thorns.
University left me more confused and feeling more stupid than when I first joined. More than ever I knew the meaning of the expression “I need to go find myself.”
My first job was wonderful but paid only just enough for a good pair of shoes. The office politics later left me tired and unmotivated until I moved on.
I got married and the price was that I moved away half across the world away from my parents, my siblings, and other loved ones.
You get the picture.
As you move through life, you get a new set of things to worry about.
Which brings me to the point: be happy right here right now.
If you are single, be happy in your singleness because why postpone being happy until you get married?
If you are married and are still childless be happy anyway.
Goals and life’s milestones are all well and good but don’t wait until you accomplish or reach them to be happy.
Be happy now.
Choose happiness now.
Yes, it is a choice.
Be happy now without running through the list of things you have not yet done or accomplished.
Be happy even if you are ill with diabetes or you are in debt or your children are wild.
Be happy and grateful because if there is anything life has taught me and shown me firsthand is that life can get worse.
You will think back to find out you had a lot to be grateful for and happy about than you knew.
I have been unwell for most of last and this week. While there was so much positive stuff happening in my life I was focused on my ill health and beating myself up and irritating everyone with this story.
I thank Allah for an epiphany that hit me:
“What do all those people with life-threatening diseases handle it? Have they given up? Do they never smile? Have they accepted defeat?”
There and then I decided I was not going to give my power and my joy away again.
I believed in Allah, after all, and I am content with His Plan for me, so why then was I sour-faced and reminding everyone I was unwell?
The moment I made that decision, Allah be praised, I felt physically better.
Which gave me the motivation to write this piece.
So whatever stage you are at right now, accept and be happy through it.
Worry is a rocking chair, after all, you think you are moving but in reality, you are not getting anywhere.
Live in the moment, experience it fully, be mindful, and most importantly, be grateful.
I promise you, you are going to thank me for this one day.