How to be happy; a simple guide.

When I think about our generation, certain ‘catch phrases’ and driving thoughts come to mind. We’re obsessively passionate about ‘pursuing our dreams’ and we’re the Kings and Queens of YOLO. We’re all about changing our uni preferences, our jobs and our friends in order to live the type of life we’ve decided we want. There are many other defining characteristics of our generation but one I’ve noticed is a desire to be considered deep yet understood and an overarching goal of achieving bliss. In fact, we want deep bliss.

As much as a generation changes and moves with culture and the times; the rest of the world is slow to catch up. Our parent’s and employers don’t really understand our constant need to be complex and our drive to live the ‘dream’. My world is filled with both types of people; deep thinkers and people who just want to be happy and then people who want to be both. The two however, seem to be mutually exclusive. The more you think and the more you contemplate – the more you realise how deeply unhappy you are and how you need to make a change and get your life right again. The two forces end up becoming a vicious cycle and we can’t seem to be happy or deep or understood.

I’ve definitely been there. Our generation seems to think there’s something romantic attached to being a ‘deep thinker’ and to being ‘complex’ or ‘misunderstood’ yet at the same time, we want every type of success and happiness in the world and wonder why it doesn’t work out. After lots of time and attempts to be both happy and deep I’ve come to realise something.

It really doesn’t take much to be happy.

Our generation doesn’t really believe the above statement. To be really, truly happy we think we need to have a certain amount of things. A good, fulfilling and preferably high paying job where we hopefully don’t have to do too much work or ever be stressed. A large number of friends of whom you feel deeply connected with all of them and somehow have time to hang out with all of them and that also happen to be very good looking. A wonderfully impacting relationship with God/other spiritual being that helps define us and give us “meaning”. A love type relationship that challenges us to be better than were the last day and makes us always feel like a baaabe. A plethora of university qualifications and other numerous skills such as but not limited to: some form of artistic ability (drawing/music are high on the list), sporting prowess and the gift of the gab or some other socially enhancing personality trait. It would also help if we had a great house, a great car and if no one was ever mean to us – ever. We want wicked holidays, epic Instagram photos with 80+ likes of said holiday photos. We want to be clever and well-read and really ‘up to date’ on certain topics of interest and it of course, would be best if we sponsored one more children in Africa and if we had the time – we’d also be volunteering for a cause that also attributed further ‘meaning’ to our world.

‘It really doesn’t take much to be happy’ feels like a lie.

A month or more ago I had this ‘wow’ moment when I sat down in bed with a cup of tea before I went to sleep and thought to myself “I am so happy right now – in fact, all I think I need in life is a good cup of tea.”

It feels.. so trivial doesn’t it? Tea Steff? Really?
In fact, it actually feels like I must be lying – or at the very least exaggerating.
But I wasn’t. I was so into this cup of tea and I was truly happy.

The ‘deep thinker’ within tried to come up with some intrinsic metaphoric reason for why tea was making me happy but I came up with nothing except the fact that if I could become so happy from drinking a cup of tea, then anything additional on top of my tea – would cause my life to be, well, AMAZING. So I rolled with it. For a season in time I forced myself to become that person who finds everything pretty awesome.

I would walk outside and think ‘My isn’t the air beautiful and crisp today. I love breathing fresh air’. I would receive an email at work and think ‘Oh they added a smiley face in their message – that’s SO nice’. I would get more green lights than red on the way home and think ‘WINNING’.

I made the simple things in life.. My everything. I tried to focus on only simple, easy to achieve, smile inducing things and told myself how happy they made me.

I thought it would feel trivial. Just like believing that I’d reached life’s peak while drinking a cup of tea was a limited way of thinking. I thought I wouldn’t feel deep anymore and that somehow by living simply, I’d lose any intellectual and emotional depth that I once possessed when I was deep but truthfully, a little unhappy. But I didn’t – in fact; my life increasingly had more and more meaning.

Why? Because the more I practised simplicity the more my simple little joys became infused with meaning.

Because when I drank my tea at night – I ended up thinking about how great it was that I had a job to come home from, even if it did make me tired. I would sit in bed feeling warm and appreciating my home and that I can afford to live in it. It would make me aware of how other people didn’t get the same luxury. I ended up feeling so darn lucky that something so simple could make me so happy.

What once was tea – ended up being gratitude, perspective and that ‘I’m so darn lucky’ feeling.

When I would walk outside for an errand at work – I ended up thinking about how the seasons work, and how beautiful it is that grass continues to grow even once it’s been cut and how the patterns on the leaves that had fallen on the grass have their own unique design and how that reminds me of snowflakes and how no snowflake is the same which makes me thinking of how wonderfully unique I am because God made me that way.

What once was a work errand – ended up becoming worship, fascination and unique sense of purpose.

In order to live happily – one must learn the art of living a simply deep life.

As soon as I adopted the above principle, everything became better. Surprisingly, everything became deeper and the happy, reflective, stoic, grateful kind of deep not the moody, what are we even here for, damaging deep.

I never thought being happy was so simple.

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First Time for Everything

Today I used Skype for the first time. I never understood why people raved about it so SO much, but now I do.

It’s actually so important to see someone face to face, to hear their voice and to see their expressions and hand movements. Grace and I had a tea date today over skype. We talked for about an hour and a half and drank tea and discussed and chatted like we normally would. Skype is the best thing ever! Next to Grace Davis.

Grace – I love you and can’t wait for you to come home.

In true love the smallest distance is too great, and the greatest distance can be bridged.

Resurrect Me.

After reading A million miles in a thousand years by Don Miller, I became enamoured with the idea of living life. Living a crazy full life is different to living a life that you truly enjoy. My life is always crazy and full, which is good, but I want to make sure I am really squeezing everything out of life. So on a Saturday afternoon, after a lovely brunch celebrating a beautiful friend’s 30th, I was exhausted. Normally, I would have taken a nap while I fell asleep to some TV, but in an effort to enjoy my life a little bit more, I set out to try and accomplish a lot of my favourite things in a small space of time. Here is the photographic record of a productive relaxing and fulfilling afternoon.

And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can’t go back to being normal; you can’t go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time. Donald Miller – A Millions Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life.

Copycat

In the spirit of copying a friends idea.. here are some things I am loving at the moment.

Tea

I’m loving iced tea, lemon tea, peppermint tea, licorice legs tea and just good old regular black tea. This kind of weather is perfect for tea.

Netball

No I haven’t gone all sporto on you, I went to a netball game tonight. Ashamedly mainly because my friend Tegan was a ring in even though a lot of other friends play. It was heated and we very nearly won. I discovered Ruth Limkin should add sports commentary to her list of many talents.

Apple Pies with Soft Serve

For $1.50 this is a great dessert idea! You alternate the hot apple pie with the cold soft serve.. it’s a good mix I say. Thanks to Ruth and Steve for this one!

a_CROSS//The_EARTH – Tear Down the Walls

It’s a great album. Loving singing some of these new songs in church and loving belting them out in my car. Favourites would be.. More than Anything & Tear Down the Walls

Smallville

I’m pretty much always loving this show. Who knew I could actually successfully write an entire assignment to a season or two of Smallville in the background. I thought it would make me distracted.. but the slight distraction in the background has kept me for becoming depressed about this thing called university.

Extensions

I had two days to complete a really difficult assignment.. and then I realised.. the communications department decided to give us all an extension for like another two or 3 weeks!

Freebies

I worked a pretty ridiculous function last Saturday night, a masquerade ball. They were all so drunk when 4 security guards managed to throw them all out that half of them left their masks behind. I took home 3 masks that night. Might come in handy.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness

Well.. a pretty ridiculous saying.. but I cleaned my bathroom today.. with bleech and all.. it’s pretty glorious (apart from the smell). I’m tackling the bedroom tomorrow!!

 

To balance out all the love, let me just say that I hate not having any money and I hate having ridiculously thick hair!

Levels of Success in a Workplace

I’ve figured out the three levels of influence in a workplace so you can easily determine when you’ve made it!

Level 1 — You make your own tea and coffee but also make it for other employees

Level 2 — You make your own tea and coffee’s

Level 3 — Someone else (normally a level 1) makes your tea and coffee for you. Sometimes a level 3 can also manage to have lunch bought for them and if they are very influential, or scary, have their dry cleaning done.

Photo curtesy of Blaine Swanborough

Photo curtesy of Blaine Swanborough

I look forward to the day where I am level 3, right now I would be content with a level 2.