Sunday 17 February 2019

These are a few of my favourite things

Brendan O'Carroll as Mrs Brown.
Brendan O'Carroll as Mrs Brown.

John Masterson

There are some people I meet who approach life in a way that seems to bring them maximum satisfaction. I have often wondered about how this happens and one thing that they do have in common is that they seem to know what they want in life, and by and large have a life that meets their desires. I always feel a touch of envy as there are a lot of 'adults' I know, myself included, who are still not sure what they want to be when they 'grow up'. That said, I am fundamentally happy and count my blessings regularly.

One thing that strikes me about happy people is that they are often, maybe not quite selfish, but they do have a healthy regard for their own needs. None of them are suffering from martyr complex and always putting themselves at the end of the queue and expecting nothing for their efforts. They place a value on themselves and don't let anyone take them for granted. They are well able to say "No".

The older I get the more I realise that you have to keep the past at arm's length. We all have regrets. The only people who don't make mistakes are people who don't do much. Everyone has failed again and again. You can learn from these things without having them dominate your every waking hour. Neither can you live for ever on past glories. I always watch for my sentences beginning with "When I was xyz" or "when I used to…" because usually the person listening has heard it all before and is glazing over. The past will be a straitjacket if you let it. I prefer to live in the present and look forward with a positive attitude.

I keep an eye on my moods. Every now and again I notice that something is driving me mad and I just cut it out of my life, if possible. That may include people. I have a gardening friend who told me years ago that if a person is sucking the energy out of you it is time to 'prune' them. I have found it to be good advice. Life is too short to be spending time with people who make you miserable.

Perhaps the hardest thing is figuring out what it is that makes you happy and what it is you absolutely need. The weather has a big impact on me so why I live in Ireland is beyond me. As a schoolboy I recall us being told we were very lucky to live in a temperate climate. We would be even luckier to live somewhere hotter with less rain.

A good Dave Allen joke makes me truly happy. Mrs Brown's Boys reduces me to helpless tears. A sunny day spent on the golf course with the occasional good shot is a day well spent. I could not live without Mozart's Requiem. Or grilled mackerel, smoked salmon or ice cream. A conversation at my garden shed looking out at the rural view is one of life's true happinesses.

Most of all there are people. Being connected to partners, family and friends matters big time. The real sources of happiness in life tend to be simple and cost little in monetary terms and we are usually slow to realise this simple truth.

The people do require some effort and attention. And it may make their life easier if they know what your expectations are. So work them out.

The bottom line is stay positive. Keep your attitude of gratitude well oiled.

Sunday Indo Living

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