Ok, so it’s the first post on my new blog. What should it be about? Something profound and spiritual? Something pastoral and enriching?
Well, hopefully, all these posts will inspire you to rise above the mundane in life and just get on and enjoy yourselves more, so why should the first one be anything different just because it’s the first one? Now that’s settled, I’ll begin proper.
People often say to me that their lives are boring and they don’t see the fun in anything anymore. I happen to believe that this is because we’ve all come to expect too much out of life. Many good folk seem to be waiting for life to ‘start’, and, as I always say, life has already started; if you’re very lucky, all you can expect is more of the same. Sure, people’s lives can seem to change dramatically for the better if, say, they win the lottery or meet the perfect partner or some other such wonderful happenstance befalls them but, in all honesty, that’s not really what makes us happy. In a nutshell, if we can’t be happy putting one foot in front of the other and drawing in breath, in my experience we never will be.
Our lives are so incredibly fast-paced these days that we seem to miss the journey. Let me explain: if all you can concentrate on is getting to your destination, or achieving some goal or target, you’re missing out on what life is all about. It’s a bit like spending eight hours queueing at a theme park for six minutes of ride time; unless you can enjoy the queueing, it doesn’t make for a very good day out. You’ll spend most of it moaning, and then probably feel that the rides weren’t worth it at the end. So if you can’t enjoy the queueing, don’t bother going to the theme park in the first place – find some other way to amuse yourself. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up to fail and be disappointed. You’ll know you’ve really cracked this ‘life’ business when you can find a way to queue for all that time and actually enjoy it – it’s simply a case of matching your expectations to your activity, and this is where a lot of people go wrong; we have to learn to see life differently, and simply looking for a bit of fun as we go about our daily lives is as good a place to begin as any.
So let’s start by looking at the smallest, everyday things that can put a little smile on your clock and just make you realise that life doesn’t have to be so serious after all. These little gems come in all shapes and sizes, but are in absolute abundance – you simply have to get used to looking for them. Take my smiling lightbulbs for example. I wanted some old fashioned, coloured lights to string in the trees at the bottom of my garden. After trawling the internet, I eventually found exactly what I wanted at one of the more famous online retailers. I’d looked for so long, and all I’d been presented with were huge strings of LED fairy lights and Chinese lanterns and illuminated meerkats and… you name it, it was there. But I wanted the proper, coloured bulb-shaped bulbs of my childhood – the type you used to see on the council installed Christmas trees or in the gardens of country pubs. When I finally discovered them I gave a metaphoric punch of the air – and then I looked really closely. Was each and every one of those little bulbs actually looking back at me with a cheery, smiley little face? Ok, old red on the far left might be looking a bit glum, but most of the front two rows seemed to be as happy as sandboys. Now, of course, the boring old realists among you will tell me that it’s nothing more than reflection and twin spots to light the product, but where’s the magic in that? No, my little bulbs all have little smiley faces (apart from Old Red) and I just know that when they arrive and are strung in my garden, they’ll be smiling even more. We’ll just have to figure out a way to cheer poor Red up.
So I guess the moral here is just try not to be so cynical. It’s a bit like the two friends I have, one of whom is a devout Christian and knows for certain that he has his place in heaven with everlasting life, and the other a resolute atheist, who knows there is no such thing as God and that when we die we just rot away in the ground or get burned. Now nobody can possibly know for sure who’s right, but guess who’s having the nicest time here on earth believing what they want to? And when they’re both dead and gone, what will it matter anyway?
Lighten up, have a bit of fun and stop taking life so seriously. I promise you, the more you do it, the happier you’ll start to become. Give it a try – you might just surprise yourself.