It’s remarkable that a few weeks of what many see as adversity can cause us all to reflect on life and re-evaluate what is important to us. The thought that a loved one, be it family or friend, can be so easily taken from us by a somewhat stealthy and invisible foe is quite unnerving. Many have faced questions over job security and the future of their businesses, but what is even more remarkable is the sheer resilience of the great British people in the face of this adversity. But it raises a wholly pertinent question, what is it that brings us contentment and ultimately happiness.
Is it the cliché Porsche in the driveway of a stunning five-bedroom detached house sitting in acres of beautifully landscaped garden, is that happiness? That well heard statement ‘You never know what goes on behind closed doors’ could put paid to this assumption.
Does happiness involve fancy holidays or shopping trips? Well, only if you want a quick hit and thrill perhaps. Is happiness found in a fine vintage wine or is simply in the taste of a prime, flame grilled steak or a cracking traditional Balti.
Surely the true meaning of happiness and how it looks, lies in the daily pleasures, the sense of satisfaction and contentment, in acts of random kindness, social engagement and of course good health.
Let’s also consider our working lives and what might make us happy in our chosen vocation. Actually, let’s really break that down and focus on our chosen work location. In the last months we’ve moved from working in our employer’s office to working from our home. We have essentially removed commuting from our lives and recent surveys confirm that most of us are actually happier. Our employers are seemingly ok with it and even the once vocal Greta Thunberg is happy, well happier, as we have reduced emissions over this period… for now.
Many people would view happiness as a destination to arrive at after they’ve achieved a certain tick-list: the well-paid job, the loving partner, the mortgage paid, the kids, the latest hi-tech gadget or pair of sneakers. But is this what happiness looks like? Our level of happiness is surely a consequence of what we do and how we behave in life, not to be overly morbid but the classic ‘bucket list’ should be more of ‘an aspiration list’; what will make you happy before you die. So, the pursuit of happiness may come from a shift in focus and doing something different, rather than simply trying to think one’s self happy .
Perhaps happiness comes when you change what you do and where you do it. COVID-19 has forced many changes. We had to go with the flow, we had no choice. We’ve had to obey the rules. As we come out the other end most of us now eat better, do more exercise, work efficiently, spend more quality time with those people around us, and hopefully appreciate them more than we used to.
We’ll never really know what goes on behind every front door, but we now have a much better idea on how happiness should look and given the experiences of the last few weeks, maybe we deserve to be a little happier now.