A continuation to my previous blog post about my current read:
THE HAPPINESS PROJECT by Gretchen Rubin.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE TO DO?
I spent countless days wondering why my life is going. My doctor couldn’t answer life’s purpose for me, nor can a Sunday Church Service magically tell me that. I figured only I could, and the Happiness Project reiterates that there is a difference between people who LOVE their work and people who are simply hardworking. People who actually, genuinely, sincerely love their work tend to pour more enthusiasm and intensity into what they do.
The author has helped me find what I love to do by a simple question: What do you do on your spare time? What did you do enjoy doing when you were younger?
I paused to think for a bit. What is fun for ME?
1. I love, love, love spending a quiet time alone at a coffee shop with good music and the aroma of freshly-brewed coffee wafting through the air. Reading a good book, writing down my thoughts on old-fashioned paper and reflecting about life. This is when I feel most inspired – a really big sort of an “I-can-change-the-world” kind of inspired.
2. It fills me with a sense of warmth when I spend time with my pets. I have had Sushi, a sweet, adventure-seeking Maltipoo (Maltese-Poodle), for a year and a half now; and I believed it was about time for another source of joy. I bought Summer the kitten (at four months, she’s the sweetest little thing. A British Shorthair cat breed, sold to me without papers, but it doesn’t matter because I loved her the moment I saw her). Knowing that you have a purpose in something-someone else’s life. Feeding them, giving them lots of love and care, it really does help boost my mood when they give back love in return. By this I mean lots of furry cuddles, I love it!
3. On my spare time, I enjoy window shopping,
or in this generation, online window-shopping (what’s that called?). I am thrilled when I see unique new things on the market. I also happen to have a knack at remembering item prices, making it easy for me to compare the price of one item from one store to another.
4. When I was younger, I don’t remember doing anything else apart from drawing, really. I draw during class, I draw at home, I doodle during Sunday Service, I draw through meetings. That’s pretty much what defines me and what I truly enjoy.
5. TRAVEL! I love it. I’ve been a junior jet setter since I was three years old. I love seeing new places and it fills me with overwhelming joy when I see new places, discover new cultures and indulge in unfamiliar dishes all over the world.
It took me these three bullet points before I realised that I am already exactly where I should be. At BARKINGHAM PET GROOMING SALON, I work day in and day out with dogs, I’m surrounded by people of similar interests, and colleagues who I now consider as my family. I am able to use my purchasing “ability” for the shop, and by thinking out of the box (and hating to see the shop become JUST an ordinary grooming salon), I put up a cafe to serve the waiting customers.
Pets, friends and coffee. Barkingham, I realize, is my bluebird of happiness.
Here’s a quick tour through the shop, in case you’ve never been here yet. (Oh, please do come by with your pets, I’d love to meet you guys!)
I’m not one fond of a change when it comes to things I’m already used to, such as waking up at 7:30am in the morning, eating only after I’ve fed Sushi, things like that. Rubin speaks of embracing change in terms of opening yourself to try new things. So I’ve made a list of my own to live by this year, even just to TRY.
- TRY BOXING (AGAIN) – I’ve tried this and quitted on my second day a few years back because of the intense post-work out body aches. Maybe with a new set of goals I can do this with purpose this time (and not quit, hopefully).
- TAKE MORE PHOTOS – Sometimes they’re all we’ve got at the end of the day. It’s a way to preserve not just the memories, but the feelings associated with these keepsakes. Here are a couple of my travel photos, I’m making a mental note to have these developed as soon as possible. Alaska, Greece and Spain have been my favourites so far.
PLAN A PARTY – I’ve been giving this some thought because I’m not that all fond of planning my own party or much less being in a room full of people. The author mentions that it increases one’s happiness to be around people, and rekindle friendships and build stronger ties. So I’ll add this to the list as well, and plan a double party (for Sushi and Me) soon. Part of the source of happiness for this would come from the planning, and then half would be the actual event itself. I’m half excited and half scared, fingers crossed!
GROW EACH DAY.
At the end of it all, GROWTH = HAPPINESS. During this time of reflection I realise, how much of a different person I am now than I was three years ago. The twenty-two year old me would be afraid to speak my mind, would be afraid to take chances and would fall into the guilt-trap when I happen to say “NO”. Now, I say “NO” with enough conviction, and in my own way, tread the path I want. It’s one thing to be spoiled, and a whole different thing to be brave enough to lead the life you choose. “You are one choice away from a different life”, this much is true.
I’ve learned to live independentIy, as costly as it might have been. I’ve learned to walk away from a group when I don’t belong.
Having been brought up in a family that communicates very little, I never learned to speak my mind or to express any sadness, anger or hurt. I’ve always kept to myself, my thoughts, my opinions and my desires until it turned me into a shrivelled shell of a person. It never occurred to me how important it is to step out of the shadows and be heard. Therapy has played its part in my growth, it has taught me to be more open, to allow the past to be the past. Amidst my recovery, it has also been my conscious decision to find ways to grow.
On my twenty-fifth year, I finally learned to express myself. I cry when I need to let out some stored-up emotions. I’ve learned to get angry, likewise I have learned to let go.
A tree doesn’t grow through sunlight alone, it also needs plenty of air and water to flourish and become one that gives oxygen, fruit and shade to the people around it. Likewise, there are many ways to grow, through friendships, through books, through experience and so much more. Allow these things to help you grow, allow life to bring you to the best you can be.
Constantly be ready for change, be ready for growth but always, always remain true to who you are. Even if you’re like myself, a complicated mess of things. 😉