Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead

Jennie has written two posts in recent days that have got me thinking about my life: where I am now and where I want to go. Ok, so I was thinking about the latter anyway, but her post about being contented with her lot has got my brain ticking.

There are many things in this world that I’d like. A radio in the kitchen. Not having to work. Living in the same postcode as my pigs. Fat free chocolate. Free delivery for all online shopping. A laptop battery that lasted all day. A miracle cure for B’s bad back. Clothes that cleaned themselves. Dogs that didn’t chew everything in sight when left alone for more than five minutes. Sustainable, renewable fuel for my car. An end to intensive farming. For it to be legal to shoot people who drop litter out of their car window.

I could go on – the list is non exhaustive.

But I spend so much time thinking about and, depending on the issue, stressing about the bad stuff, I forget about the stuff that’s good, the things that make me laugh and smile, that make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

The simple things in life, like the colour of the sky when the sun sets, laughing with friends, the way I feel when B grins at me, being able to sit in the pig pen and cuddle piglets, the way the dogs greet me, even if I just leave the room for a couple of minutes, being awake early in the morning when everyone else is still asleep, the noise a hen makes when she’s just laid an egg. The small things that happen everyday that I always take for granted and never even think about.

I spend a lot of time smiling and laughing, whether it’s at the dogs playing when they have their morning walk, or when the piglets attack my wellies, or when Harold comes rushing up to see me, or when Bailey decides he wants a belly rub so gets down on his knees with his big bum sticking up in the air until you get scratching, or B being silly and mucking about as we do something boring and routine, or even listening to Terry Wogan’s nonsensical ramblings as I drive to the farm. But these things never stay with me, unless, like now, I make a conscious effort to think about them.

The small things that make us happy are never ending but we never give them more than a moment’s consideration – if they even get that as we go about our daily lives, stuck in our absolute conviction that we are miserable and unhappy, that our lives are worthless and filled with nothing but sorrow and misery.

But if we spend very little time counting the small things that make us happy, we never consider the big things. The big things that, if we did consider them, would make us delirious with joy.

I might not own my own home, but my mortgage is not at risk.

I don’t have any savings, but I don’t have anything to lose.

I don’t live where my pigs do, but at least I’m in a position to keep pigs and chickens – which means that not only do I know what home produced pork and sausages and eggs taste like, I’ve got a regular supply.

I might not want to work, but I’m not unemployed.

I don’t get to spend much time with B, but we’re both at home every night.

The dogs might chew, but I know they’re likely to do this so I can anticipate and avoid. If my stuff gets nibbled, it’s my own fault for leaving it in reach.

The daft thing is that most of the stuff I write here on my blog is stuff that makes me laugh or smile or stand back and appreciate our world and my place within it. But I never say so. I guess I say it without actually saying it, and then assume that you know what I’ve said, even if I haven’t directly said it.

I’m not one for philosophical ponderings, so that’s as deep as I get, but my point is that instead of taking our world and my friends (human and other animals) who share it for granted, I’m going to make and take the time to reflect on the good stuff and make thanks for it. And, hopefully, play my own part to ease the way for other people.

Having said all that, being thankful for the good stuff doesn’t mean I’ll stop aiming higher. But that’s another post for another time. Right now I need to sort out the fruit and veg so the pigs and chickens can have lunch.

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