Everybody loves a happy ending, especially when it’s the story of their own life. I have begun writing that ending today. After roughly couple of months in it, lots of scratchy notes and 2000 odd words later I have finally researched my way to be happy forever!!
If you are someone who believes that one doesn’t always need to stay happy and hopeful through difficult times and seriously think that recluse in vulnerable spaces is enough to ease off your discomfort, then it’s time you come out of your therapeutic feel good irrationality!
Imagine yourself 10 years ago. Were you happier or less happy than you are today? It’s not inappropriate if you think that you were happier. But 10 years hence, things are likely to be a lot less rosy. And it’s no fun to rake your brains over it now.
Happiness tends to decline as we walk through our lives and bottoms out at around 50. Then something strange happens; it races uphill again till people get split into two groups; those who get a lot happier and those who couldn’t be any less unhappy.
Right around the“I’m so hype!”age, most of us would rush to make few good financial decisions, plan ahead and are more likely to be able to support themselves in comfort and be alive always; rest who wouldn’t, just couldn’t.
Something similar happens with happiness. As we grow old, we begin to see things differently. The excitement and fun of adolescence gives way to brutally negative jibes of adulthood. By now most of us have experienced bittersweet pleasures of life; but little do we realize that these tiny time specks can make us appreciate more and encourage us to be on cloud nine, when the going gets tough.
Tough!!… is it a bad word? It certainly sounds dismissive and cruel. We all have had our fair share of moments when wits got thrown to wilds. It hurt… but prepped us for some plucky life moments ahead!
If you ask me good things happen more often than the bad ones, but often we miss opportunity to stay connected to happiness. We easily forget that age is like some fabled sycophancy that allows us to fly high in the real World. At 50 you could still be the same adorable pig tailed gal or some jaunty good looking knock-out beau. Both of you could still climb the trees, jump the wall and beat up all the boys. Young and raunchy, fiercely ambitious you both have had your share of one heart break, one breakdown, one true love, one success, one moment of despair and gloom – you have had mountains of them.
Cringing eyes, creaking knees and despairingly loosening skin, need not make you falter now. There is no shame in growing old and struggling a bit; it’s a reminder of all the battles that you have survived and the ones you won!
Once you have learned how to love your lines and folds and aches and pains, begin looking for some honest happy moments, few of which you could save for grey years.
Here’s what I did to make my life stay as full and happy as possible when I reach my later years;
Does age equals happiness?
Like everybody else I too will grow old. But I don’t see myself climbing mountains every day to be happy or live in a landscape where that’s an option. I would rather go for a walk or sit in a stretch of green watching the birds feeding. Doing so would give me something to look forward to each day.
For me the ‘sweetness of doing little or nothing’ is all about savoring the moment , having joy in the present and saving a bit for declining years.
When I was young, the happy–well person in me learned well to accumulate resources and habits in pursuit of happiness. Few of these, like generational wealth–so difficult to control, happy childhood-that descended from long lived ancestors and sometimes spots of depression-again a formidable enemy; all have been there to teach me about late-life happiness.
Elders would mock, “Only handfuls heed; rest count on being lucky!”
I picked that up rather seriously!
I thought that being passionate about something that I could pride later on, won’t hurt anybody. So, I chose the best way of maximizing my chances of being happy in my autumn years.
I have made some big investments in my disposition-smoking, drinking, body weight, exercise, emotional resilience, education, and relationships ranked high in my judgment. I have dug deep, chosen the hackneyed lane and I believe that I’ve done the right thing! To some varying degrees, I have kept all of them under my fold since then.
Surprisingly simple, it’s perhaps the most reliable way to see yourself smiling forever!!
Love doing what makes you happiest
It didn’t take me long to realize that the best way I could tweak my chances of happiness, is to pursue that one thing that could make my heart race in high octane. Not that I would let any of dopamine, adrenaline or norepinephrine run out of control.
So, I chose…
One small deed; one overwhelming gesture that when I lock my eyes onto, would make me feel all pumped up; one simple action that would make me smile every time I looked back.
I strongly willed to improve upon my ability to weather stressful and unexpected turn of events in life. And I chose to pour my heart into it, letting it to be the last!
Ever since, I have realized that one single most important thing for wellness in life is to raise and foster warm relationships; one that would make you quit small sins; one that you’d have to hold on to if things go south; one that would let you fit the bar pretty well even in a squeaky wrinkled frame.
I’m no die hard biophile. It’s a mean old world and we all have scars but for me happiness is no longer a matter of the heart. I know that I won’t necessarily be doomed to misery if I could work my way to few good, warm relationships.
I just want to be happy and successful. To look back on my life when I’m all old and grey, and think to myself;
“See! I totally nailed it. I have zero regrets.”
Life is surprisingly simple
We hear about success and happiness everywhere we look. We get all sorts of tips and advices about life and about things we should and shouldn’t do.
But it never really works that way every time!
Like most of us, I wasn’t sure what these words actually meant or how to get there. I might already be there and wouldn’t know it yet!
So, I looked around… What could I do to make sure I’m not getting waylaid in my pursuit of happiness? How would I know for sure that I am working towards joy and happiness that right now doesn’t feel tangible?
It’s hard to reconcile everything. Wish for an everlasting happiness and it would usually contradict ways to a successful life. The hard part is that there is no clear answer to this and all those wisdom bombs are only part truth, part value.
I needed to find the right balance for myself.
I took an inventory of all my habits and behavior and judged myself where I needed to invest a little more time, a little more energy and a little more silver to start moving in the right direction. I worked ‘smarter not harder’ so I’d still have some fun left to myself and not be exhausted or miserable when I turn 70s.
I’m no goofball; I’m hopeful and see opportunities differently. I’m sure I’ll find my perfect grin soon.
As I sit quietly, I reminisce one premier episode of Grey’s Anatomy; normally a few laughs, sometimes some tears; one dialogue in particular that really hit home for me. Somewhere a patient had said something along the lines of;
“Well of course you are happy, but is there really a cap on happiness?
Lately I think I’ve been very happy; maybe I’ve maxed out. But then I remind myself; there is always room for more of happiness… there’s so many miles to go.
I also know that not everyone feels the same way. I see people battling with misery and anxiety every day and this touches me to appreciate my happiness all the more.
All this has drawn an empath in me and I know that everyone deserves to be as happy as I am.
I wish, if only you’d do just one small close to your heart thing, to bring a difference in your World and empower yourself to be happy always.
It’s unlikely that you’ll follow everything that matters and that’s Ok. Just pick and choose the one that sounds easy and worthwhile and take your first step slowly!!
Someday you’ll find yourself lucky… blessed if you may!!