It’s happened many of times now.
Once when I was sat on a cold brick wall outside a mediocre pub linking arms with one of 8 of my best friends about 2am, slightly tipsy and very excited for a Domino’s feast that would accommodate us on our sleepover with only two rooms and blankets for shelter.
We were having a chat with two (intoxicated but really lovely) local lads and an aphorism they surged in our direction has stayed with me ever since. I can’t remember the exact words they spoke but it was something along the lines of “I can see you’re all really close, I get that vibe. As long as you’ve got each other, as long as you look after each other, that’s all you need.” It was a passive drunken comment but it really struck a cord and has been a motto I’ve held on to ever since.
The second time was in the same circumstances, with the same group of people who allow me to be the best version of myself, who lift my spirits, support and inspire me and make me laugh until I forget all about the hardship I’m dwelling on. We were singing at the top of our lungs to cliche karaoke in a dingy basement in the middle of Leeds for evening birthday celebrations and I realised there and then this is what real, innate contentment feels like. I don’t need a multitude of additional factors to reach my pinnacle. Sometimes all you need is real life.
Happiness comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s what you make of it and it’s who you surround yourself with. To be euphoric doesn’t have to entail materialism. Doesn’t have to be built on a lifetime of success or fortune. Doesn’t have to be found in your possessions. Doesn’t even have to be absent when you’re going through a bad patch. It can exist in the fundamental value of the simple spiritual pleasures you have already, what you keep close, and what you should hold on to.
It can be stemmed from a smile, or a hug, or a gossip with your besties. A nudge from your pet, a day with the family, a waggle of the tongue from a child in the supermarket. Kindness. Someone checking up on you. Being told someone’s proud of you. Having a sudden boost of creativity. Realising you can do it, whatever that is. Literally anything that represents love, connection, and serenity with the world and yourself.
These are all things that exist within and what can help along the way of finding lasting happiness. It can become the basis of an objective, something to smile about.
It’s been the approach I’ve set for myself for the foreseeable future, now. When I’m feeling melancholic, worthless, and low, I’ll foment the goodness I’ve gained in the past and treasure those moments. I’ve already found it to help me snap out of my tendency to mull over my dissatisfaction and my problems because I’ll remember there’s always someone or something to pick me up.
The week before my social adventures I was drowned in pity and suffering. My pain levels were sky high and my mental health was rubbish, I was drained and I didn’t want to communicate or partake in any activity. I had all sorts of worries; money, health, actually being able to move forward, but those carefree times refreshed my outtake and gave me a fresh perspective. It signified what it’s like to be happy and that it is possible without the gimmicks and with the woe.
And that’s my toast to a better, more thankful, and happier me.