In my classroom, on one of the walls, I have dozens of quotes, quotes that I like, or inspire me, or make me think. Most of these quotes are about kindness, happiness, or wisdom. This may tie in with my personal belief that if you can pull off being kind *and* clever *and* make others happy, you are onto a good thing! So there are quotes from Buddha, passages from the Bible, writings from Roosevelt and Keller…. A real mishmash.
My title quote is up there too and it’s something I’ve been thinking about this evening. It’s attributed to a guy called Burton Hills, who I couldn’t find anywhere online. So if I’ve done a Sarah Palin and inadvertently name checked a white supremacist or similar, I humbly apologise and hope you can forgive me. The guy’s not even on wikipedia!
So that quote, “happiness is not a destination. It is a method of life”, is certainly a quote which I have personally taken on board. For much of my life, I lived in a ‘now’ I didn’t like. I didn’t really deal with the present, and the past was a dark and dingy room, inhabited by mess and disarray, haunted by spectres and ghosts and all too real monsters. So I took refuge in the hope of the future, in dreams, in aspirations…
As coping mechanisms go, it’s a pretty tame one, but it’s still not the best way to live your life. Looking forward to stuff is a great and powerful thing (as I type I’m looking forward to Bonfire Cottage, K:VI, cuddles, the end of term, Christmas, and Dylan Moran. For starters!) but they are not all there is. They are not stopping me enjoying the here and now. Back then, I wanted to get to the next thing. I lived for things to come – that party, that event, that hurdle to leap over. When I got my degree…I’d be happy! When I lost ten more pounds…. I’d be happy! When that guy called…. I’d be happy!
And do you know what? It didn’t really work out. No one thing was going to fix me and let me be happy. Because happiness is not a destination. It’s a method of life. It’s certainly a huge part of how I live now.
I’d say now, that I’m a genuinely happy person. That doesn’t mean I face every moment with an inane grin (just this evening I hit a brief low for example – stress, some mean-spiritedness from others, and some worries piled up), but it does mean that my ‘mode’ is one of being happy. And that’s just how I operate now.
I didn’t change overnight…but a change happened. It took several years, but it happened. I think this happiness and joy had always been there, but a lot of the darkness and tough times had just buried it somewhat, like rocks on top of gemstones. But now, I like being happy. I like finding solutions instead of problems. I like believing in people. I like counting blessings. I like being grateful. I like telling people how amazing they are. Because I know many, many amazing people.
I also like bed. And that is what it is time for now.
Hope your week is going well!