31.12.10

In Pursuit of Happiness

I should probably be heading to bed but I wanted to write one more entry before the year is out. It's that time of year when people start evaluating their lives and thinking about the year ahead. In 2008, I made a to-do list for the next year to roughly complement my 'life to-do list'. It felt good to cross off all the items (ok, most but let's face it, I was never going to get fit). I made no such list at the end of 2009.

My life had just begun to settle down after the acrimonious breakdown of my marriage. I moved back to East London to be closer to family but things were a little scary for a while. All my money was tied up in the house I left behind – and the ex-husband refused to sell. Eventually I sold my half to him at a 25% loss because I just wanted to move on. I moved into a pretty flat that had a second room for my study, got a new job and published my second book that year. I kinda felt that I owed myself some downtime, hence there were no plans for 2010. The concept of making plans and setting goals made me think about the meaning of happiness and its complete capriciousness.

Humans are forever in pursuit of happiness but it is always transient. No-one is ever in a permanent state of happiness – it comes and goes in fits and starts. You may feel generally content as I did for some of 2009 and most of 2010 but true happiness never lasts. You might have a great job, the perfect partner, a beautiful home and wonderful friends and family, but you can still feel a great degree of unhappiness on a day-to-day basis.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that we should stop worrying if things aren't perfect. That is not to say we shouldn't make plans and have goals, or try to steer the course of our lives, but we should accept that we will never achieve a state of perpetual happiness. A writer friend put it well when he said "when you get there, there is no there there". Having everything you want can feel very similar to when you had a mere fraction.

So, my friends, as another year draws to a close, make your plans and set your goals as I have done below but enjoy happiness when it comes because there's no guarantee that it will visit you again this year or the next, even if you tick off every item on every one of your lists.

2011
Visit two countries I haven't seen (22/04/11)
Complete an intermediate Spanish class (07/07/11)
Learn to ride a bicycle (11/09/11)
Learn to ride a horse (23/10/11)
Start writing the third book (24/12/11)
Go fishing for the first time
Oh, and get fit ;)

Happy New Year. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.

Kia

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