Sunday, 8 September 2013

Being happy

I was talking to a friend the other day about how weird blogging is. I write about my life and the things I like, and I share photos of what I get up to and what I wear. But how honest is it? I wouldn't ever make something up, just so I could write about it, but I leave things out and I gloss over things (and I always take about a million terrible outfit photos before I manage to get a nice one).

I want my blog to be a positive place - so it makes sense to focus on the fun things, but I think it's important to acknowledge every now and again that life ain't all lovely and brilliant. Things have been a bit hard lately, so I just wanted to talk about that.

Russell Loughlan
It's been a weird year for me so far. Lots of amazing, fun, ace things have happened. I've been to brilliant places, and I've made new pals that I absolutely adore. I changed my job, and absolutely love it (although I do miss my magazine days every now and again). Life, in many ways, is treating me well.

But, then again, it's been really difficult on many levels too. My relationship ended at the start of the summer, and my life is totally different. We own a house so we've still been living together, but of course things have changed, everything has changed. The house that we loved and shaped into a lovely home has just gone on the market, and that's all quite scary and exciting and strange to think about. I don't know where I'm going to live (other than the roughest of plans) because I don't know when the house will sell, or when I can move. It's a really odd situation.

Sometimes I'm almost giddy about how exciting the future is. For the first time in a very long time, I don't know what life will be like. I could go anywhere! I could change everything if I wanted! There's so much out there, and I've learned that I can be brave and I can do scary things. But other times I'm really struck by what I've lost. Not just Craig, but the life we planned, the future that was ours. It might not be the right thing for me any more, but I've needed to mourn for the what-could-have-been, and at times I feel like I have the heaviest of hearts.

Russell Loughlan
Luckily, Craig continues to be the nicest person I know. This could have been awful. I've heard horror stories about break ups, and exes living together, and I am so glad that this has been nothing like that. We've been good to each other.

I came across this quote by Jeanette Winterson when I was reading her latest book, Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? and it really stuck with me. I think is worth reading, regardless of how life is treating you.
Pursuing happiness, and I did, and still do, is not at all the same as being happy- which I think is fleeting, dependent on circumstances, and a bit bovine. If the sun is shining, stand in it- yes, yes, yes. Happy times are great, but happy times pass- they have to- because time passes. 
The pursuit of happiness is more elusive; it is lifelong, and it is not goal-centred. What you are pursuing is meaning- a meaningful life. There's the hap- the fate, the draw that is yours, and it isn't fixed, but changing the course of the stream, or dealing new cards, whatever metaphor you want to use- that's going to take a lot of energy. 
There are times when it will go so wrong that you will barely be alive, and times when you realize that being barely alive, on your own terms, is better than living a bloated half-life on someone else's terms.
The pursuit isn't all or nothing - it's all AND nothing. Like all quest stories.

So. I'm not going to be sharing every part of what I'm going through (it is the internet after all), but I'll check in about life things maybe a little more often. And on the whole, I'm quietly optimistic that things are going to work out well. Which is a really nice thing to have.

16 comments :

  1. I think I read this with the same mix of feelings as you probably have at the moment - I feel sorry for you that you have lost something and that there must be a lot of pain associated with that, but I am excited for you that it will inevitably bring so many opportunities. I have always found our house a bit of a millstone in terms of considering what might happen in the future and being unable to do things like go travelling or imagine a life without mortgage payments so you must embrace the freedom that you'll get from taking a little step away from the property ladder - I need to live vicariously through you! The uncertainty must be in equal parts scary and thrilling and you sound like you are being very brave and strong. Sending all my love and good wishes and always hear if you need an ear. Thankyou for sharing - and that Jeanette Winterson quote is beautiful, I must read that book ASAP! xo

    Rosie | A Rosie Outlook

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    1. That was supposed to be always here if you need an ear, not some kind of pun!

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    2. Aw, thanks Rosie! It's true - going back to renting will be weird, but it'll be nice to put being a "proper" grown up on hold for a wee while at least! xx

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  2. Both in person, and on your blog, you seem a lot more positive and together than many would be under the circumstances. You're awesome. And the future really does sound exciting.

    Also I really enjoyed the Winterson book. And I love the images here. This is a lovely post, for a subject so sad :( xx

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    1. Thanks Charlotte - this is one of the times in life when I guess it's pretty handy to be an optimist. I absolutely LOVE the sad badgers... it's from a series called Emotional Animals, and I heart them so. xx

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  3. Since I discovered your blog a few months ago it's been a real inspiration..from the topics you post about to the way you write about them...whatever it is you're writing about a real sense of honesty and down-to-earthness shines through. I'm really sorry life has been quite tough the last while but it sounds like you're taking the rough with the smooth & can still see the silver linings in life. I'm looking forward to following the wonderful adventures that I'm sure await you!!

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    1. Thank you for such a lovely comment! x

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  4. I'm a new reader to your blog, and I think it's lovely that you've shared this post. It's a really sad situation that you've been through and I went through something similar myself at the start of summer, and it was horrible. Changes like relationship break ups are awful but as you rightly say there's a whole world of possibilities open to you and it's important to take hold of those chances and move forward. Your optimism is wonderful.

    Suzanne x
    Twitter: @staylucky_

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    1. Thanks Suzanne - hope things are looking up for you too! x

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  6. This is so beautifully written and honest and I think it will strike a chord with a lot of people. As Rosie said, what has happened to you is sad but so exciting at the same time! I am in a loving relationship, we have a house together, getting married in a few years and I am desperately looking forward to all those things that my situation inevitably brings but I find myself surprisingly sad at times for the things that I might not get to experience because of it. Might be ordering that book myself! :)

    It's a funny old thing life isn't it?

    I look forward to reading about your future, whatever you choose to share.

    Ashley x
    http://tickytales.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Ha, it's true! Thank you for your lovely comment, and yes, you should definitely read Jeanette Winterson... she is wonderful! x

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  7. Hey, I found your blog as I was planning a move to Edinburgh (Now in my 2nd day here!) and really like your honesty :) It's nice to read something real on blogs and I'm glad things are as good as they can be under the circumstances, I so admire a classy breakup! I think you are right to be optimistic, fingers crossed for some great times ahead x

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  8. I am so sorry to hear about you and craig. i am glad that things are calm and you are both moving forward. Please try to keep that beautiful smile on your face and know that we all love you.

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  9. I remember this feeling well from when I left my husband a couple of years ago - the sorrow and excitement all mixed in together. And I remember some of the good advice I got at the time, that time really does help, and it's OK not to be OK for a while, and one day you will wake up and you won't feel quite so sad about it. Two years later I am settled and happy and glad I made the decision I did, but I still sometimes have moments of grief for what I lost that are so strong they take my breath away. I think you captured it perfectly when you said you are mourning what could have been. For now you seem to be doing brilliantly, and you should know that it will get easier, I promise.

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  10. I know I've been there with trying to figure out where my own personal boundaries lie with my blog recently. I sort of tried to explain it in a recent post: http://dinoprincesschar.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/but-thats-just-me-before-we-met.html
    but I do find there are sometimes things I struggle to share.

    I'm sorry to hear about the change in recent circumstances, but I love that you're able to look at this as a new possibility, a new door opening and all that. I admire your optimism.

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