"We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than we have to consume wealth without producing it." So said George Bernard Shaw.
Thanks to Poet-in-Residence and before that to Bill the Ostrich at Usually Confined I have received a Happiness award (see side bar). These awards are gratefully received and I thank everyone who has given me one over the past months but I have decided that enough is enough and I shall just leave them on over this weekend while I fulfil the obligations demanded by this last one, but then on Monday I shall say goodbye to them all and try to put a few more things on my sidebar, thus testing my computer skills to the limit.
So, to meet the Happiness award - I have to say ten things which make me happy. I find that very difficult. It all depends what is meant by happiness. The Dictionary defines happiness as a state of contentment. If you look at it that way then all I can say is that I am totally content all the time. Why should I not be?
I have had two happy marriages. I no longer need to work. Teaching children was always wonderful work but I never enjoyed the stresses and strains of working in a very large Comprehensive School with a huge staff, with often a lack of communication between them, the negotiation of capitation each year - all these things combined to take the gilt off the gingerbread.
Also I have time to blog. When I left school in the early fifties I was desperate to write and dearly wanted to be a Journalist. Conditions at the time and family pressures meant that I never fulfilled this ambition. Over the years I wrote for various Educational publications, Womens' Magazines etc. and whilst I enjoyed that it was always a chore getting copy ready, sending it off with s.a.e.'s and then waiting for months, even years sometimes to find out whether it had been accepted or not. Now I can write every day from the comfort of my own chair - no getting it typed up and sent off - my readers accept what I write at face value and tell me in their comments whether they agree or not. Looking up references before I write, reading your comments, changing my opinion in the light of what you say or at least letting me see things from a different angle - all this keeps my old brain ticking over and gives me a huge amount of interest. Some bloggers set challenges - write a poem for example - and this gives me a huge amount of pleasure too.
I have a group of readers who are not themselves bloggers. They often send me e mails with their comments. They are old friends and I appreciate their involvement. In fact I am trying at present to persuade one friend to open a blog for himself as a way of helping him through a difficult time in his life. If I manage to persuade him then I shall let you all know about it as he writes some really interesting stuff on old churches.
So there you have it. I can't list ten things which make me happy - I just am. But over and above that sometimes I can become positively euphoric. So here are things which top up my cup of happiness:-
It is wonderful when all my family are well, happy and doing what they want to be doing. That gives me an extra kick.
I do like a sudden pleasant surprise - the first snowdrop, the first really warm day, shutting the farm gate behind us when we set off at the beginning of a trip abroad, a surprise visit from an old friend or a grandchild, a piece of textile work finished and pleasing, a poem of mine being aired on someone else's blog (thanks 2010!). And I get a thrill each time I drive into our market town, up a hill and over the top and suddenly the whole dale opens up before me - and I swear it is never the same twice - it can be sunny, foggy, misty, cloudy, snowy, hazy - it is always different and it always gives me a kick.
There are not many advantages to getting old but for me at any rate there is one. I no longer have to strive for anything, I just have to accept what comes my way, push myself physically to keep going and be happy that I can still enjoy life. Enjoy the rest of Sunday.