"The purpose of our lives is to be happy" - Dalai Lama
I feel like I've had this post roving around in my head for quite a while, but a couple of things have happened in recent weeks that have made me think about the pursuit of happiness more.
We all know that being happy is important, but how many of us actually make decisions and live our lives with happiness as our sole purpose?
I'm pretty lucky that I'm naturally quite a ha ppy go-lucky, glass half full sort of person. But I know just as well as anyone how easy it is to get caught up with the details of life, with the bills we have to pay and the neverending to do lists and the career opportunities and savings and scary decisions and the sheer exhaustion of adulting.
But in the end, all that really matters is that you're happy, and that you appreciate being happy when you are.
No matter how tired and stressed out you are right now, it's highly likely that you'll look back on this some day and realise that you were having a ball. Appreciate it now, rather than just feeling nostalgic about it in the future. Realise that life won't always be this way, and instead of just counting down to your next holiday or saving for a new house or planning your next career move, remember to lift your head up and see the beauty in the everyday life around you.
Maybe it's being able to head out for after work drinks without a care in the world. Maybe it's those quiet nights in, spent on the sofa with plenty of blankets, Netflix and your other half. Maybe it's just appreciating that the rain has stopped for an hour, or that you have enough loose change for a fancy coffee.
For me, it's the hilarious Whatsapp group chats with the girls that always cheer me up. It's the days where I have enough time to make and eat a proper breakfast, rather than just inhaling a yoghurt at my desk. It's the sheer contentment of coming home to our happy house after a bout of time working away.
Don't ever be so busy pursuing happiness that you forget to be happy in the moment. That's not to say that you can't have dreams or ambitions or goals to work towards. Just appreciate that the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the road.
I know so many people who have had perfect weddings or landed their dream jobs and feel disappointed when they don't feel immediately elated as a result. Turns out life isn't just about those big milestones. It's about those tiny everyday moments that make us smile.
In the coming weeks, when the celebrations and festivities are in full flow, remember to take a few minutes to soak it all in and just be happy in the moment. You never know when things are going to change - appreciate what you have right now.