Today was a day of rest for me. After thinking on Saturday I’d recovered from what I thought was a pretty run of the mill cold, I spent yesterday feeling rather unwell. I got up this morning to go to work, had a shower, realised I was never going to make it and headed straight back to bed.
In between resting, sleeping and making myself hot lemon drinks, I watched a DVD that I’d got ages ago and had never watched. It was a live concert of Kate Miller-Heidke in San Francisco, which included a documentary made by MTV EXIT featuring Kate. The documentary, Rise: A Tough Ascent is about the lead up to a concert in Nepal for the MTV EXIT campaign to raise awareness and increase prevention of human trafficking in Nepal. It included stories of women who been basically tricked into leaving Nepal to become prostitutes in India and had managed to escape.
It’s quite a disturbing subject, and while I was watching it, I started to put my own problems, if you can call them that, into perspective. I wondered if I was plucked out of my relatively comfortable life here and dumped in a village in somewhere like Nepal how I would cope. Or even if I’d cope.
I wrote down a lot of rambling stuff trying to sift through the actual point I was trying to make. There was stuff about ethical production, exploitation, the true cost of things we consume, rising costs of living here, people in Australia trapped in cycles of poverty and no education, what are we going to do when the oil runs out, my life could change at any time . . . what’s the point?
I concluded that I feel like I have a responsibility to make the most of my life right now. That means not waiting around for things to be ‘right’ before I can start to ‘live’ my life.
Life is now.
What I am doing right now is living. I remember reading somewhere someone had said that there is no dress rehearsal.
This reminded me of something I’d read in The Happiness Project, and since I’ve been thinking about that a bit lately, I decided to grab it from the bookshelf and re-read it. And there is was, in the very first section, the same realisation:
‘Bogged down in petty complaints and passing crises, weary of struggling with my own nature I too often failed to comprehend the splendour of what I had.’ (page 2)
There are lots of things in my life I wish could be different. Some are within my control, some are not. However, the mistaken belief I seem to have a lot of the time is that I can’t be satisfied or totally happy with my life until I’ve changed all the things I want to change. That is, I can’t really live my life until everything is perfect.
But while I’m waiting for my life to be perfect, my life goes on. I’m wishing some things were different but I’m not doing anything about them, and at the same time I’m not really appreciating the things I do have.
And that’s the point of the Happiness Project – it’s about appreciating the good things that make up your life right now, but also finding out what will make your life happier and then actually doing those things.
For me, the first part is just as important as the second. I don’t want to waste my life living for the day that everything falls into and my life is magically a life worth living. Because I don’t think that day will ever come.
I’m fortunate to live where I do and to have what I have, and I owe it to myself to make the most of this and to live the best life that I can. But at the same time, what I’m doing right now is living my life, and I need to take the time to appreciate that as well. Life is now.
I don’t think I’ve worded that particularly well, but I’m not feeling the best. I’ve had a lot of stuff going round in my head today and I needed to get it out.
So tonight – or what’s left of it – I’m going to settle down with my copy of The Happiness Project and work out what my first step is going to be. I’m not going to aim for a grand life plan because I’ll never get that done, and if I wait for that to be finished before I do anything I’ll achieve nothing.
But I can set myself a goal for tomorrow.