When you're 40 and Still Chasing Happiness
I’m turning 40 in exactly 3 months time. I imagined that by the time I reached my 40s I’d be sorted. I’d have finally settled into the Queen archetype that celebrates the wisdom and glory of the Feminine. I pictured myself feeling confident and worthy. I imagined I would feel wise and in tune. And I certainly thought that I’d have finally achieved happiness “perfection”.
I still have days where I’m too lazy to go for a run – even though I know it will make me feel good.
I still have days when I motor through a slab of chocolate – even though it’s not sugar I’m really hungry for.
I still have days where I’m overwhelmed by what I’m trying to get done – even though I have all the time I need to accomplish it.
I still have days when I feel old and fat – even though I look exactly the same as yesterday.
I still have days where I feel that I haven’t achieved much – even though I’ve successfully been in business for 5 years.
I still have days where I’m so anxious I feel like I’m climbing a wall – even though I’ve got so much to be grateful for.
This is life. It’s like that sometimes.
Feelings come and feelings go. Some days are good and some days less so.
I know I can’t control emotion and I’ve also learned that it’s unhealthy to try and do so.
What I also can’t do is wait.
I can’t wait until the day that I become this amazing, calm, wise brilliant woman – and only then take action on the things that I want to do. I can’t keep waiting until I’m happy to do the things that a happy me would do.
How many of us are in this holding pattern, waiting for our lives or ourselves to be a certain way so that we can be happy?
We think that we’ll be happy…
When we lose weight
When we’re not so tired
When we have a better job
When we make more friends
When we’re financially secure
When we’re fitter
When our eating habits are better
When we’re not so busy
When we meet the right person
When our kids are older
When we have more time
What if it doesn’t work like that at all?
What if you need to start doing the things that make you happy now…because that’s where happiness is? It’s a feeling. And a feeling is felt right hereand right now.
Happiness isn’t at some long distant point in the future. Happiness isn’t even next week or tomorrow. It’s here, now, today.
So do something today that brings that feeling.
I’ve noticed that I’m happier when:
I start the day by moving my body.
I mix up my activities during the day.
I’m working on more than one thing at one time.
I travel and explore new things.
I inject a bit of social interaction into my day.
I rest my body when it’s asking for it.
I’m learning something new.
I don’t stay in the same place all day.
I spend time outside.
My list goes on… But one thing is clear: there are some very specific things that make me happier if I do one every single day.
My list is long so I get to choose which ones I’m going to do today. And which ones I’m going to do tomorrow. Sometimes it requires a bit of flexibility and sometimes it requires a bit of a pep talk. Today I'm sitting outside at the beach clubhouse as I write this. I've mixed up locations and I've taken myself outside.
You might need to put in a bit of planning or get up a bit earlier. And you most certainly will need a bit of courage to give yourself permission.
So yes, maybe being happy does actually require a little effort. But that’s ok.
What feels like dragging your ass out of bed to go for a run, will actually be what inspires your good idea later in the day.
What feels like an unproductive coffee break with a friend, will actually be what energises you for the rest of the day.
What feels like an indulgent hour at the salon, will actually be what makes you feel beautiful today.
If I do something from that list every single day, I’m happy. I’m more in tune with who I am. I feel lighter. And I feel closer to the wise woman that I actually already am.