Sunday, 29 July 2012

Passion Pressure and the Happy Pad

We are in a triple dip recession, not an ideal time to graduate then. Team this with the worst summer for 18 years, and reminiscing about the 'good, old' freedom at university (before the boomerang throws you back to your parents house) makes getting out of bed in the morning somewhat of a mammoth challenge. At least in the 'olden' days, people had to walk downstairs and had time to become armed with a cup of tea and some cereal before the onslaught of bad news could begin. Nowadays, I read my emails on my phone in bed when I wake up and have no time to prepare myself for the blitz.

I have heard the words quarter life crisis tossed around a few dinner parties of late. Yes, I realise some of you will be rolling your eyes and thinking it sounds like ponsy middle class rubbish, like those people who claim they are allergic to gluten foods and their skin will explode into a multitude of dangerous rashes if they so much as stare at some white

The 'What's the plan?' question has become a taboo with friends and family alike.

A week doesn't go by without a friend ringing me up in a frenzy after their parents tried to have the 'life direction' chat with them or they hate their job and bravely admit they don't know what the hell they are passionate about, so don't know how to start being the next Steve Jobs (he once said 'people with passion can change the world for the better'). This 'passion pressure' leads people to go away for a second gap year, only to find themselves getting drunk at a full moon party in Thailand. Passion mission - very much unaccomplished.

There is no plan. OK?

And if you have to go to a school reunion and bump into an irritating person gloating at their success of being the first person under 30 to ever be a partner at their law company etc - point them in the direction of this article. Their dad probably hooked them up; even if it's not true, think it, if it helps you feel better.

For my birthday, my friend gave me a funky pad, which as we were chatting merrily about 'the night before', I decided I would turn into a Happy Pad.

When we were talking about it, we laughed so much that the people next to us on the train actually left our carriage, looking disgruntled and muttering moodily to each other. Obviously, they didn't get the chance to feature in my happy pad.

"What makes you happy?"

When I asked this question, some people looked at me as if I was an estranged hippie, others were happy to be listened to and many already had their own form of a personal happy pad (yes, secret self-psychotherapy is surprisingly common these days).

I asked english friends, foreign friends, grandparents, a polish big issue seller (he either didn't speak english or he didn't want to answer my question), the shopkeeper I briefly encounter each day and others.

Some of the most popular things that came up were: sunshine (awkward), new sheets, chocolate, a good cup of tea, laughing with friends, coffee, cooking,
when people smile at you on the street, dinner parties, cold white wine, compliments, post, dancing

Some of my favourite entries: sinking into bed after a long day, the last half an hour of a great book, piecing together the night before, standing ovations, chatting to shopkeepers, sound of rain from inside a tent, coming home to a hot water bottle in bed

Places: Airports, home, beaches, mountains, canals in big cities

A controversial entry: cleaning

Simple pleasures: tu te leves et il y a un joli soleil dehors, tu peux prendre un café et une cigarette et rester la à ecouter la nature, a cake and coffee in a cafe

Particular times: Friday mornings because I know I will soon spend time with the people I love, dusk on a summer's evening

Travelling: looking at something beautiful and getting that 'wow' moment, getting lost while discovering new cities

Food entries: japanese food, freshly made sushi, chocolate fudge brownies, strawberries and cream, breakfast with other people, sampling new food for free at markets, Cocinar para mis amigos y mis seres queridos me hace feliz, homemade bread with proper butter

Sport/outdoor entries: yoga at sunset, jogging by the beach, listening to feel good music when jogging, cycling down hills, playing badminton, walks in the countryside, finding new bicycle routes

Conversation: J'adore discuter la nuit avec quelqu'un dans le noir : etre dans un lit, et parler de nos vies, notre vecue, nos sentiments, nos peurs.., street bars and red wine,making a good joke, juicy gossip

'Mature' entries: theatre, home improvements, gardens

Simple entries: Ice cold water

Random entries: a homeless person playing an outside piano

Closet broody entries: giggling babies, cute kids asking cute questions

A moral entry: "When I make other people happy, I feel happy", having a good deed appreciated, kind people

There you go - an array of different happy moments - c'mon you have to find at least one to smile about.

Happy fact box:

Orkney is the least anxious place to live in the pack ya bags and head north

The average brit claims they are 7.6/10 happy with their lives

Losing yourself in daily activities makes you happier