Today’s Random Act of Joy is courtesy of reader, Heather. Last week I received a lovely letter and some theatre tokens that Heather wanted me to use to ‘make someone happy rather than letting them languish in a drawer’. What a gem.
I love the theatre (and when I say the theatre I really mean low-rent musicals with plenty of jazz hands) so it’s a real pleasure to imagine someone finding these and then treating themselves to a night in the stalls.
In honour of it being Mothering Sunday this weekend, I hid the special envelope in a shop display for nappies! Not one of my most glamorous hiding places, but if anyone needs a lovely night off then it has to be a new parent.
One of the lovely blog readers introduced me to this site:
I love the idea behind it. Every day you share a picture of something that’s made you happy and you repeat for 100 days. Fabulous.
But what really struck me was the cheeky little line: ‘You don’t have time for this, right?’
You’re right, you smug little website. I don’t have time to notice the things that make me happy. I have too much to do. I’m supposed to run 4 miles today and check up on my friend who thinks she has insomnia and prepare a presentation for my boss that he won’t read and floss my teeth and, you know, be nice to people. When the heck is there time for sharing something so frivolous as what makes me feel good?
Please stop taunting me with this idea of living happily and leave me alone in my misery. Thank you.
Being busy is something we wear as a badge of honour. We have ‘busy-offs’ as we rattle through all of the things that we just have to do, thinking that the endless stream of tasks makes us sound important when really it just makes us sound annoying. Especially because the people we’re banging on to are not-so secretly too busy to really listen.
Happiness just has to wait until everything else is ticked off.
Of course we all know that we need to say ‘no’ more and prioritise our time and just generally adhere to the rules of all good time management/personal development books. But we don’t.
So how do we practically deal with this situation?
We need to remember that being happy gives us MORE time.
Much to the disgust of my rational minded boyfriend, I believe that time is flexible and that when we consistently tell ourselves that we’re too busy/time is running out/it’s all too much, the clock responds by ticking more quickly and we spend those precious moments in an unproductive tizz. Time contracts.
What we need is a more expansive view. And the best way to get it is to find pleasure in the moment, to breathe deeply and slow down. With every calm thought and bigger smile, time stretches.
Taking a moment each day to really be happy is like paying into a high interest/no risk bank account rather than frittering all our money on the cheap thrill of scratch cards and gin. We calmly do what we need with pleasure rather than frazzled pain.
It’s not that we don’t have time to be happy, it’s that we don’t have time not to be happy.
So check out the 100days project or commit to a daily moment of pleasure yourself and let me know how you get on.