To me this world is a wonderful place
And I’m the luckiest human in the whole human race
I’ve got no silver and I’ve got no gold
But I’ve got happiness in my soul
Happiness to me is an ocean tide
Or a sunset fading on a mountain side
A big old heaven full of stars up above
When I’m in the arms of the one I love
Happiness is a funny old thing, isn’t it? I would never describe myself as being happy. I see myself as content — and very much so. I have little, but I need less and I am grateful for what I do have. No, not grateful. I think I feel gratitude even less than I do happiness. Thankful? Whatever – I appreciate the things and the folks that I have in mylife. I appreciate where I have come to rest at the end of my wanderings. I love my house and its place by the sea. I love my island life, and it’s slowness of pace. There is nothing that I would change, except…
Today I heard a happiness expert on the radio. There was a phone in. She asked people four simple questions and then gave them a happiness score based on their answers. I wondered what my answers would be if it were me on the end of that telephone line, and what my score might be.
What single change in my life would make me a happier person?
I do not have a clue. My needs are met. I have my mate, a roof over our heads (OK, and a mortgage – a less than perfect situation I suppose but many people have far less than that), sufficient to eat (more than — just look at the size of me), and clothes enough to keep the wind and the rain out. I have my furry pals: Teddy and Treacle the Bengal cats and Nell, Suzie and Griff the collie dogs. My husband works from home. I never lack for company. I have my spinning wheel, my knitting needles, my computer, my workroom full of crafty “stuff” and my kitchen full of pans, pots and ingredients. I never lack for something creative to do, and thus I am never bored. If I feel the urge to learn, I have both the Internet and also people who are willing to share their skills and show me how to do new things.
It is a full and rich life. I need no changes. No additions, no takings away (maybe). What on earth could make me happier than the five minutes that I just spent in the garden with a dog and an owl, in absolute and perfect silence.
What would I do if all my money and material possessions were taken away. What would I have left?
That had me slightly worried for a while – I’d hate to lose my knitting needles or my spinning wheel. Thankfully she clarified and extended the question – if all the cars and holidays etc. were taken away, what would I have left? Well, you can’t take away what I do not have in the first place. We downsized and simplified a long time ago. We have a car. It’s over 15 years old, I believe — purchased second hand ten years ago. We use it infrequently (fill the tank 2 to 3 times a year) and would not find life insuperably challenging without it. Holidays, we do not have and do not need. Where could we go that would be better than here.
I would hate to lose my computer. I use it less and less as time passes by but I am wedded to it. It is an enabler. I learn through my computer and I use it to create with. It allows me to keep in touch with many friends – old ones, new ones, real ones and virtual. I’d feel the distance if I had to live here without my PC. I would miss people. I have always been a communicator and an information gatherer. Yes, I would be far less happy without my keyboard and screen but it is a material posession and I should feel able to let it go.Â Ultimately, I would adjust.
If the matter were literal. If I lost everything I had. If all I had left at the end of today were the clothes that I stood up in, my husband, and my furries… well, I’d be fine. That’s not optimism speaking but experience. I’ve had to bootstrap my life on more than one occasion in the past and I’ve got to here — a place in my life where I am far more than OK. It gets harder as oneÂ gets older, starting again, but it is never impossible — and so much easier with a loved one by one’s side, somebody to share the crisis with. I think I might even have to own up to the perversity of actually being somewhat happier when I am challenged… I do know that I am far more content since we downsized. If I had to start again with very little, well… I almost welcome that idea.Â I do know that I could manage with fewer possessions than I have now, far fewer in fact – but please, I do wantÂ needles and wheel. If the crisis is to be complete, can I at least have a drop spindle? I need to be occupied.
What is my first thought when I wake up in the morning.
Is that a happiness indicator? My first thought is always “what time is it?” followed by “is it time to get up yet?” and if it is, then my next thought is normally “what shall I cook for lunch today?” unless my train is interrupted and becomes more of a “blimey, Teddy, those claws are sharp!” or a “gerroffthebednell!”
I suppose that it is a good and positive sign that I don’t just think “OMG another day….”
How loved do you feel?
Truthfully? at the moment “not very.” That does not make me unhappy in itself. I have the intellectual knowledge that I am loved, even if my mate is unable to help me to feel it just now. You see, he is not happy. Not happy at all. That makes me sad,Â for him and for me.
So, yes, perhaps I would change just the one thing. If I could wave a magic wand, I would enable my DH to see our life through my eyes. I’d half fill his half empty cup. I’d help him to a view that his life is blessed and wondrous and show him how lucky he is to have the job that he hates. If I could.
Is it the way that we are made that governs whether we are happy or not? Are some of us naturally glass half full, while the remainder are doomed to the prospect of imminent drought and thirst? How easy is it to get a new view on one’s glass? or are we just what we are, and unable to change that view?
Here’s a question? Are knitters generally half full? I have a feeling that they may well be. I find that knitting generates a sense of well being and comfort. The zen like nature of the art brings peace and calm. The technical skill gives a knowledge of control and the ability to clothe onseself and one’s loved ones come the apocalypse. It’s self sufficient. How can a knitter not have a positive view on their life?